Back in the News
According to a February 13, Associated Press report, a former intern for Senator Robert Menendez, has been detained on federal charges and is facing deportation.
Luis Abraham Sanchez Zavaleta, an 18 year old Peruvian national and registered sex offender, was recently arrested by Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) agents following Menendez’ successful reelection bid in November. While government officials close to the case insist that the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) ordered a delay in arresting Sanchez, a spokesman for DHS categorically denied the report.
Prosecutors in Hudson County, NJ said that Sanchez violated the law in 2010 and while still a minor and was required to register as a sex offender. Hudson County officials notified ICE in October that they believed Sanchez to be illegally present in the US and coupled with his sex offender status, was a prime candidate for deportation according to current ICE guidelines.
ICE agents in New Jersey notified superiors at DHS because of the connection to Menendez making it a potentially high profile arrest. ICE officials said that DHS instructed them not to arrest Sanchez until after the November election and despite complaints that the delay was inappropriate, they were told several times by DHS not to act.
The Comeback Kid
In Congressional testimony on February 13, DHS Secretary Janet Napolitano said that she didn’t order immigration agents to delay arrest and deportation action for Sanchez. She added that there were several reasons why the October arrest didn’t happen including blaming Hurricane Sandy.
Sen. Charles Grassley, the ranking Republican member on the Senate Judiciary Committee (and frequent attendee at hearings examining bureaucratic operations such as these) said that documents showed that agents had planned on arresting Sanchez in October but that it was delayed until December, long after the election. Pleading ignorance, Napolitano said that neither she nor her aides learned of the incident until she read of the complaints by the ICE agents in reports by the AP.
Sanchez had applied for preferential treatment under the Obama immigration policy known as Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals, that permits up to 1.7 million young illegal aliens to avoid deportation and get permission to work for up to two years. Citizenship and Immigration Services (CIS) that oversees this program said that Sanchez, a registered sex offender, would not have been eligible for the program.
The New York Daily News reported that ICE was also criticized in an earlier incident for delaying the arrest of President Barrack Obama’s aunt who had ignored an immigration judge’s order to leave the country years earlier after her asylum claim was denied. She subsequently won the right to stay in the US.
“DHS had imposed an unusual directive days before the 2008 election requiring high-level approval before federal agents nationwide could arrest fugitive immigrants i.e. the half-sister of Obama’s late father.” The ICE directive was rescinded and the immigration order lifted weeks later.
Reports such as these have become commonplace.
It becomes rather a question of which constitutes greater concern – that those who govern are so brazen in the inconsistent enforcement of federal law or that even federal law enforcement can be subverted to become the means of serving political ends.
Either way, this should be troublesome for anyone who is bothering to pay attention.
Brett Braaten is the author of Homeland Insecurity: Failed Politics, Policies, and a Nation at risk. His book brings his no nonsense, insider’s account of the current state of national security to help you decide whether you, your family, and your country are truly safe. Brett’s career as a writer and speaker is informed by 30 years of experience as a federal agent with U.S. Customs and the Department of Homeland Security. Brett Braaten draws back the curtain on the vast federal law enforcement bureaucracy to give a rare glimpse of behind the scenes agency responses to politics and policies that impact national security, sovereignty and the economy. “As a former special
agent with both the U.S. Customs Service and later Immigration and Customs Enforcement, I enjoyed a great career. In retrospect, it was job satisfaction that most of us spent time looking for as we did our jobs in a system that fostered more obstacles than solutions.” Contact Brett at firstname.lastname@example.org .Visit his website, at www.homeland-insecurity.com for
his thoughts and analysis of current issues affecting national security and the well-being of American families.