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  1. #1
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    How a Senator's Illegal-Immigrant Intern Avoided Arrest Until After the Election

    Elspeth Reeve
    2:13 PM ET
    The Atlantic Wire



    The federal government delayed the arrest of an illegal immigrant interning for New Jersey Sen. Bob Menendez until after the November election, a story previously reported by the Associated Press but now backed up by government documents. The Homeland Security department was worried the case "had the possibility of garnering significant congressional and media interest." The timeline is somewhat unclear, but judging from the Associated Press's report, the unpaid intern, 18-year-old Peruvian immigrant Luis Abrahan Sanchez Zavaleta, might have triggered his own arrest by applying to stay in the U.S. under President Obama's executive stopping the deportation of young illegal immigrants. Sanchez is a registered sex offender. The story is a little confusing, so here's what we know about the timeline:

    2009: Sanchez, then 15 years old, is arrested on the charge of aggravated sexual assault after being accused of assaulting an 8-year-old boy. Sanchez gets two years of probation and has to register as a sex offender.

    Mid-2012: Sanchez applies for the new Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program, allows young illegal immigrants to stay legally in the country for two years. He did not disclose that he was a registered sex offender. Citizenship and Immigration Services formally denies his application. Separately, Sanchez had not updated his sex offender registration, and "local prosecutors considered arresting him for that," the AP reports.

    October 25: The date U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement in Newark planned to arrest Sanchez. But ICE officials note that arresting Sanchez "had the possibility of garnering significant congressional and media interest," according to documents reviewed by the AP, and "advised to postpone the arrest." Authorities discussed what to do in a conference call between New Jersey and Washington to "determine a way forward, given the potential sensitivities surrounding the case."

    October 29: ICE officials discuss the case.

    November 6: Menendez is reelected easily.

    December 5: Sanchez's arrest is approved.

    December 6: Sanchez is arrested.

    December 12: The Associated Press breaks the story.

    December 13: Menendez's staff tells him about Sanchez, according to the senator.

    The story has tabloid appeal given that the term "sex offender" is involved. But Sanchez isn't being deported for a sex crime, at least not directly. He's being deported for being an illegal immigrant. He was not able to get a waiver for that under Obama's executive order delaying the deportation of immigrants brought to the U.S. as children because he didn't comply with laws that now require a kind of lifetime punishment for sex offenders, even if their initial sentences are relatively short. Rachel Aviv ad a fascinating look at the consequences of trying to predict which sex offenders will offend again in last week's New Yorker.

    How a Senator's Illegal-Immigrant Intern Avoided Arrest Until After the Election - Politics - The Atlantic Wire
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  2. #2
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    Documents show Washington ordered agents to delay Senate intern’s arrest

    By Associated Press, Updated: Tuesday, January 15, 11:42 AM


    Mel Evans, File/Associated Press - FILE - This Sept. 27, 2012 file photo shows Sen. Robert Menendez, D-N.J. speaking in Sayreville, N.J.

    WASHINGTON — Federal immigration agents were prepared to arrest an illegal immigrant and registered sex offender days before the November elections but were ordered by Washington to hold off after officials warned of “significant interest” from Congress and news organizations because the suspect was a volunteer intern for Sen. Robert Menendez, according to internal agency documents provided to Congress.

    The Homeland Security Department said last month, when The Associated Press first disclosed the delayed arrest of Luis Abrahan Sanchez Zavaleta, that AP’s report was “categorically false.”

    Sanchez, 18, was an immigrant from Peru who has overstayed a visitor visa that allowed him to enter the United States. He eventually was arrested at his home in New Jersey on Dec. 6. He has since been released from an immigration jail and is facing deportation. Sanchez has declined to speak to the AP.

    After the AP story, which cited an unnamed U.S. official involved in the case, Sen. Charles Grassley of Iowa and six other Republicans on the Senate Judiciary Committee asked the Obama administration for details about the incident.

    According to those documents, U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement agents in Newark had arranged to arrest Sanchez at the local prosecutor’s office on Oct. 25. That was fewer than two weeks before the election.

    Noting that Sanchez was a volunteer in Menendez’s Senate office, ICE officials in New Jersey advised that the arrest “had the possibility of garnering significant congressional and media interest” and were “advised to postpone the arrest” until officials in Washington gave approval. The documents describe a conference call between officials Washington and New Jersey to “determine a way forward, given the potential sensitivities surrounding the case.”

    The senators, in a letter to the Homeland Security Department, said the agency documents showed that Sanchez’s arrest “was delayed by six weeks,” as AP had reported. They asked for details about the department’s review of potentially sensitive, high profile immigration cases when arrests are delayed.

    In a letter Monday, Assistant DHS Secretary Nelson Peacock said an allegation that the government delayed Sanchez’s arrest “for political purposes” was categorically false. Neither the unnamed U.S. official cited in AP’s original story or the senators in their letters to the department had specifically alleged that the arrest had been delayed for political purposes. The official, who spoke on condition of anonymity because this person was not authorized to discuss details of Sanchez’s immigration case, told AP last month that the department had instructed federal agents not to arrest Sanchez until after Election Day.

    The documents provided to Congress do not indicate why the arrest should have been delayed or whether anyone outside Immigration and Customs Enforcement — such as in the headquarters offices of the Homeland Security Department — was consulted.

    Menendez, D-N.J., who advocates aggressively for pro-immigration policies, was re-elected on Nov. 6 with 58 percent of the vote. Menendez said last month that his staff was notified about the case immediately before AP’s story, he learned about the case from the AP and he knew nothing about whether or why DHS had delayed the arrest.

    According to police records, Sanchez was 15 when he was arrested on a charge of aggravated sexual assault in 2009. The records show he was accused of sexually assaulting an 8-year-old boy at least eight times and sentenced to two years’ probation and required to register as a sex offender. The AP is not reporting the boy’s relationship to Sanchez to avoid identifying the victim.

    The agency documents show that Sanchez failed to update his sex offender registration, and local prosecutors considered arresting him for that. During the same time, immigration officials learned that Sanchez had applied for the Obama administration’s Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program, which would have allowed him to stay in the country and legally work for two years. He did not disclose his arrest or status as a sex offender on the application and was eventually denied, according to the documents.

    Immigration enforcement operations in New Jersey were largely halted starting Oct. 28 as officials prepared for Hurricane Sandy. By Nov. 29, ICE had planned to arrest Sanchez after Citizenship and Immigration Services had formally denied his deferred action application. The following day, the ICE Office of the Principal Legal Advisor was consulted. The agency’s chief counsel was also consulted and the arrest was approved Dec. 5.

    Sanchez was arrested the next day.

    During the final weeks of President George W. Bush’s administration, ICE was criticized for delaying the arrest of President Barack Obama’s aunt, who had ignored an immigration judge’s order to leave the country several years earlier after her asylum claim was denied. She subsequently won the right to stay in the United States after an earlier deportation order, and there was no evidence of involvement by the White House.

    In that case, the Homeland Security Department had imposed an unusual directive days before the 2008 election requiring high-level approval before federal agents nationwide could arrest fugitive immigrants including Zeituni Onyango, the half-sister of Obama’s late father. The directive from ICE expressed concerns about “negative media or congressional interest,” according to a copy of that directive obtained by AP. The department lifted the immigration order weeks later.

    AP Exclusive: Documents show Washington ordered agents to delay Senate intern’s arrest - The Washington Post
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    Did WH Cover up Dem Senator’s Illegal Alien Sex Offender Scandal?

    January 16, 2013
    Judicial Watch

    Did the Obama Administration block the deportation of an illegal immigrant sex offender who worked for a Democrat senator to dodge a scandal that could cost the politician reelection in November?

    Americans deserve to know and Judicial Watch has launched an investigation into the ordeal which, ironically, was exposed by a national newswire service well known for its pro-Obama reporting. Here is the story that’s earned worldwide attention because of the shameful allegations of a major government cover-up for political purposes.

    It involves New Jersey Senator Robert Menendez, a Cuban-American who advocates aggressively on behalf of illegal immigrants. A former congressman, Menendez has voted against hiring new border agents, security fences along the Mexican border and enhancing sentences for illegal aliens convicted of violent crimes. A few months ago a conservative website published a piece in which two prostitutes offered alarming details about Menendez paying them for sex in the Dominican Republic, which he visits frequently.

    On the heels of that disgraceful revelation comes the story, this time in the famously liberal and Obama-loving mainstream media, of how the White House apparently protected Menendez from yet another public relations crisis. How? By delaying the removal of an illegal immigrant from Peru with an expired visa (like the 9/11 hijackers) and a criminal record for sexual assault.

    The 18-year-old illegal alien, Luis Abrahan Sanchez Zavaleta, worked in the senator’s office even though he had an expired visa and a rap sheet for sexually assaulting an 8-year-old boy repeatedly, according to the news report that exposed the story. Sanchez Zavaleta had the audacity to apply for President Obama’s special childhood amnesty, but he got busted for failing to disclose his criminal record and not updating his sex offender registration.

    According to government documents obtained by the news agency, U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) officials in Newark had arranged to arrest Sanchez Zavaleta on October 24, less than two weeks before the November election. Menendez faced an unexpected challenge from his opponent, state Senator Joe Kyrillos, and the administration didn’t want to risk losing the seat to Republicans. Menendez ended up winning reelection on November 6 with 58% of the vote.

    Here is what happened after the feds earmarked the Menendez staffer, according to the news report: “Noting that Sanchez was a volunteer in Menendez’s Senate office, ICE officials in New Jersey advised that the arrest “had the possibility of garnering significant congressional and media interest” and were “advised to postpone the arrest” until officials in Washington gave approval. The documents describe a conference call between officials Washington and New Jersey to “determine a way forward, given the potential sensitivities surrounding the case.”

    Homeland Security documents cited in the news report show that the illegal immigrant’s arrest “was delayed by six weeks.” Not surprisingly, everyone involved denies any wrongdoing and through his staff Senator Menendez claims he only heard about the case in the media. Judicial Watch plans to get to the bottom of this matter by seeking all records under the Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) and taking legal action if necessary to obtain them.

    Did WH Cover up Dem Senator
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