New Jersey Sen. Bob Menendez employed an illegal immigrant and registered sex offender whom immigration authorities arrested earlier this month, according to a report by The Associated Press. Luis Abrahan Sanchez Zavaleta, an 18-year-old immigrant from Peru, was arrested Dec. 6 in New Jersey.
The AP reported that the Homeland Security Department told federal agents not to arrest Zavaleta until after Election Day. Menendez, a Democrat, won re-election in November with 58.5 per cent of the vote to Republican challenger Joe Kyrillos’ 39.8 per cent.
During an appearance on MSNBC shortly after the report was released, Menendez avoided questions about it. He seemed to confuse when he knew about the arrest — at one point, he said he knew Monday, then corrected himself and said he found out just before coming on air.
Menendez has been a leading voice pushing for immigration reform in the Senate, a role which could be complicated by this report.
All told, it’s been a rough couple of months for Menendez. In November, The Daily Caller reported that Menendez had paid two women for sex in the Dominican Republic. Menendez has denied the report.
He is also on the Senate Committee on Foreign Relations, of which Sen. John Kerry is the current chairman. Menendez could find himself in a larger role on the committee if Kerry is selected for Secretary of State or Secretary of defence, two positions for which he is reportedly being considered.