AP is reporting an unpaid intern working for Democratic New Jersey Senator Robert Menendez was found to be undocumented and a registered sex offender.
The 18-year-old Peruvian immigrant, Luis Abraham Sanchez Zavaleta, was on a visitor visa that expired. He worked at the Senator’s New Jersey office and it is unknown if he did any work for the Senate Washington D.C. office.
It is being reported that the intern ‘violated the law’ in 2010 requiring him to register as a sex offender at age 16. Sanchez Zavaleta did apply to stay in the country under the ‘Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals’. He is inegible due to his criminal record.
Sanchez Zavaleta came to the attention of New Jersey authorities back in October, as a possible undocumented alien with a criminal record for sexual offences. Criminal aliens in the U.S. are routinely flagged for immediate deportation. Sanchez Zavaleta was not arrested until December 6th and the Senators office was notified shortly thereafter.
AP is reporting immigration officials in Homeland Security were urged not to process the arrest until after the Presidential elections.
The Senator’s office has confirmed that the unpaid intern was undocumented but denies charges that they were lax in conducting background checks on staff members.
Menendez came to office in 2006 as an appointment to fill the seat vacated by Jon Corzine. He was re-elected in November with a clear majority.
Menendez is one of the Latino immigrant community’s great voices on immigration reform. Until the election of Marco Rubio, he was the lone Hispanic in the Senate. He sits on the Senate Committee on Foreign Relations.
This news comes on the heels of unsubstantiated reports that the divorced Cuban Senator employed prostitutes while a guest of top donor, Dr. Salomon Melgen, at Casa de Campo in the Dominican Republic. Menendez has denied the prostitution allegations.