Menendez: We Need Comprehensive Amnesty So We Can Do Background Checks to Look for Information Background Checks Won’t Reveal

On Wednesday, the Associate Press broke the story that Luis Abrahan Sanchez Zavaleta, an 18-year-old unpaid intern working in Sen. Robert Menendez’s (R-N.J.) office, was not only an illegal alien, but also a registered sex offender. Moreover, the AP story indicated that ICE agents were prepared to arrest Sanchez in October, but were directed by high ranking officials at DHS to wait until after Election Day.

Appearing on the friendly airwaves of MSNBC shortly after the news broke, Menendez asserted that his office only learned of Sanchez’s immigration and criminal status on Dec. 10, four days after Sanchez was arrested by ICE. Menendez twice explained the hiring of Sanchez saying, “We certainly wouldn’t have known through any background checks, since he is a minor, about any sex offender status.” Later in the interview, Menendez again stressed, “There is no way we could know about any allegation, as juvenile, of what his background would be in terms of any sort of criminality.”

Then, in the very next breath, Menendez argues that this case is precisely why, in his view, we need a comprehensive amnesty for illegal aliens. “It does speak volumes about why we need comprehensive immigration reform because I can’t know who is here to pursue the American dream versus who is here to do damage to it if I cannot get people to come forth out of the shadows and go through a criminal background check and…make sure that those who have criminal backgrounds get deported.”

Huh? Didn’t Menendez say twice that background checks would not have revealed Sanchez’s criminal record? So what good is doing criminal background checks? In this case we are talking about someone who was found guilty of multiple counts of forcible sex with a child. How can Menendez, or any other member of Congress arguing for amnesty contend that bringing illegal aliens “out of the shadows” will make us all safer because they’ll have to go through background checks, when, by his own admission, background checks would not even reveal a juvenile history of predatory sex offenses?

About Author


Ira joined the Federation for American Immigration Reform (FAIR) in 1986 with experience as a journalist, professor of journalism, special assistant to Gov. Richard Lamm (Colorado), and press secretary of the House Defense Appropriations Subcommittee. His columns have appeared in National Review, LA Times, NY Times, Washington Post, Newsweek, and more. He is an experienced TV and radio commentator.


  1. avatar

    How is an illegal alien working in the office of a US CONGRESSMAN “in the shadows”? Seems to me that both the illegal alien and the Senator have chutzpah.

  2. avatar
    Joel Wischkaemper on

    No.. we don’t need that at all, but it would be nice to background this mess and see if Mendeze knew what he was doing when he hired the illegal alien. But it also highlights a very critical point: Congress oversees a massive amount of critically secret information and it is WAY past time to vet each and every employee in their offices.

    Clearly too.. we need a President that honors his oath of office, and enforces the laws he is charged to enforce. It is NOT smart enforcement when illegal aliens are casually taking very expensive health care in addition to welfare that should not, by law, be going to them. You just cannot believe the Democratic Party likes the American People with all that is happening now.

      • avatar

        Why does an American citizen have to move to another country because he says laws should be obeyed. That’s what the constitution is, the rule of law whether you disagree or not. Maybe you need to move because you don’t understand the concept in the least.

  3. avatar
    Living With Open Eyes on

    How can you check the background of all these people with authentic looking fake id’s and social security cards? The Hispanic community has been the best id forgers for over thirty years now. And if an illegal does break the law they just buy new papers. No wonder they get all the jobs- they can just buy a clean background any time they need to, while Americans have to wait at least 7 years for their backgrounds to become clean enough to work.

      • avatar

        Since the majority of illegals are Hispanic, and since they can’t obtain id except under false pretenses, then what exactly is it you think they are using as id? Other than fake or stolen ones?

    • avatar

      As I understand it, a “background” check is a different animal than a full security check such as that LEGAL immigrants go through. A background check is what American citizens typically go through–credit check, check of criminal record IN THIS COUNTRY. A real security check is carried out in the home country of an immigrant (or US citizen living or who has lived abroad) and in every country that person has lived in to look for criminal and terrorist ties. As you might guess, a real security check is also much more expensive and time consuming than a mere background check. Now, given that the Dream Act is for illegal aliens who CLAIM to be up to age 30 and that even a 15-year-old Mexican youth was recently found to be an experienced hit man for the cartels, why on earth would we want to give LEGAL identification documents to people whose true backgrounds we have no way of being sure of?

  4. avatar

    Sen Menendez own sexual peccadilloes are well known in his “circle of friends”. From the Hookers in the Dominican Republic to the gay street hustlers of Hoboken, Menendez is “one of the boys”. How this information remains “sequestered” is beyond believability. In his world….quite similar to Obama’s….it is he who is smart; the rest of us are stupid.

  5. avatar

    More to the point, does anyone really believe that criminal aliens, juvenile or otherwise, will “come of the shadows” and apply for any amnesty that’s passed, thus submitting to background checks and risking possible prosecution and/or deportation? Menendez is just spewing more of the kind of spurious logic that’s typical of the open borders lobby.

  6. avatar

    We should all be demanding Menendez’s resignation. Unkowingly? How do you hire anyone unknowingly? The last job I interviewed for did background, drug, and credit checks? Are they saying private companies have access to better tools for background checks than the FEDS???? OMG! What will they say next!

  7. avatar

    I have tried several times to listen when Senator Menendez tries to tell us “Stupid Americans” why we should not be afraid of an “Open Border”. Of course he and all of the other Mexicans in our Political System believe in the same thing, that our Great Nation should use the Title ” United States of Mexico”. That is why they all have been Educated with American Tax Payer Dollars,just so they can enter our Political System as a Senator or Congressmen in order to pass Laws in our Country to make ALL Mexicans legal. It does not matter to any of these Mexican Politicians if one of there’s is a murderer, rapist, thief, or whatever just as long as they get amnesty and can live within our Borders. Sometimes, I wonder if any of them are “REALLY” legalized Citizens of our Great Nation and if not, then who vetted them as legal so they could get into our Government System. Thank you for your time. TSgt., USAF Retired.

    • avatar

      I can’t get over the fact that while we’ve always been the “best and brightest,” defending our nation from all those who wish to best us, we now are being destroyed, on our own land, by hoards of criminals who just walk in and take over. That is unbelievable, but what is truly unthinkable is that this destruction is aided and abetted by our own leaders.

  8. avatar

    So the government has a system to check up on the status of individuals called E Verify. It is not law that system must be used everywhere, its only recommended. In some locales it is the law, but not enough. So, are we being told our government officials do not use E Verify? What, is it against the law wherever they are?
    E Verify would solve 90% of these issues, but politicians like Menendez fight such legal actions. They say its racist & unfair. Amazing!

  9. avatar

    What the hell does an amnesty have to do with this. This is more of the “broken system” garbage these people love to put out. It’s YOUR fault we are where we are with these kinds of things. Put half as much effort into ENFORCING the law and we might be somewhere. Stop putting roadblocks in the way of the INS and let those people do their JOBS. Stop passing amnesties that just encourage more lawbreaking, stop the endless deportation appeals, make every job subject to e-verify, and put penalties into identity fraud. There was an article a few months ago about a guy in Florida who had been having problems for twenty years, even being denied a passport once, because someone was using his Social Security number. And though he suspected someone was using it, SS flat out refused to tell him if anyone else was, even after he proved he was the legal person who should have it. Turns out that it was some guy who was an artist who had actually stages exhibitions. He got charged but only after the real owner goes through all those years of turmoil. Broken system, you bet. And people like Menendez see to it that it stays that way.

  10. avatar

    Addendum: It is illegal for attorneys to hold public office in America because when they pass the BAR they acquire the British title of Esquire which gives them dual citizenship. I emphasize BAR=British Accreditation Registry. The British attempted to burn the Constitution and the amendments in 1871. Copies survived. The 13th amendment forbids attorneys to run for public office so probably over half of our elected officials are illegal. But that doesn’t matter anymore because we have let America slip out of our hands. It will in years to come be an extension of Mexico. We are rapidly becoming a third world country with no manufacturing, producing nothing substantial. We have obese kids running around with iphones stuck on the ends of their noses and soon that generation will produce the elected officials. They can’t run their own lives and will inherit a once prosperous land that will die. They won’t have the intelligence to carry on because they will have been taken care of by the democrats for too long.

    • avatar

      This stuff really does not belong here. How could the British have burned the constitution in 1871? Like every library didn’t have a copy?

    • avatar

      good piece of legal history but wait – we will not become extension of mexico. see what is happening with eurpean and asian countries buying and stealing our technologies and assets. That is a very serious situation. and it will happened have no doubt about it..

  11. avatar

    What a smoke screen. Amnesty has nothing to do with Menendez breaking the law by hiring an illegal alien. The double-standard is alive and well in Washington and New Jersey. These guys get their own health plan,and ridiculous benefits. Apparently that is not enough.

    I want to know when Menendez will be charged and fined for his illegal behavior.

    • avatar

      You forgot–he hired an ILLEGAL ALIEN AND A SEX OFFENDER. Now, if a US Congressman can do that, well, what chance does an ordinary employer have–unless they check his immigration status? How else would they have found out that he was sex offender, if the record is sealed?

  12. avatar
    Barbara Griffith on

    With more Latino’ s going through law school more of them will run for office and be elected the white politicians will gradually fade away to be replaced by Latino politicians. None of the white politicians that are kissing up to every illegal alien and the legal Latino’s have no clue that they are going to be replaced by the very people they want to give amnesty to. They wouldn’t believe you if you tried to tell them about it. They would laugh in your face but wait 20 to 30 years if the country exists, and then take a look. Both the Senate and the House will be run by Latino’s.
    The bad thing about all of this is it didn’t have to happen if our immigration laws had been enforced.

    • avatar

      There are already illegal aliens who are trying to be admitted to the bar in California and Florida. They’ve passed the bar exam, and the bar associations in those states are supporting their admission. The Obama Administration filed a brief with the CA Supreme Court opposing licensing illegal aliens on the grounds that FEDERAL LAW prohibits states from issuing licenses and certificates to illegal aliens unless and until the state passes a law specifically allowing it. I haven’t heard the result in either of these cases

  13. avatar

    @mobilebay; Our army are abroad mired in unwinnable wars. Our young soldiers addicted to heroin. “Neck deep in the Big Muddy, and the big fool say to push on”

  14. avatar

    This story prompts me to bring up the case of Jim McGreevey. Jim was governor of New Jersey who resign November 15, 2004 amid a gay sex scandal. I had been in New Jersey, the state of my birth, that summer to attend my Aunts funeral, while the grisly story was breaking.

    Jim resigned from office because he was gay, and admitted that he was gay. He had a wife and a number of children. The object of his affection was an Israeli national by the name of Golan Cybil, who had a military background and has been affiliated with Israeli embassy in NY. You could say he worked at the Israeli embassy. Governor Jim McGreevey hired him into a “high” position in the State Department of Homeland Security, even though he did not have a visa to work in the United States.

    When the story broke in the summer of 2004, Golan Cybil was outside the country and residing in Israel. He denied ever having sexual relations with McGreevey. McGreevey admitted he was gay and (nobly) resigned amidst a surprising outpouring of public sympathy. Note, that we have many gay public official. Barney Frank had a lover who ran a prostitution business out off his apartment, and Barney didn’t resign.

    Sometimes one will sometimes take the “little hurt” in order to avoid the “big hurt”. Jim had scant history of being gay. He fathered children, and courted and married two women. His current wife was surprised to learn he was gay. (Seems like that would a tough thing to hide). I don’t believe the scandal was a sex scandal, but rather an espionage scandal. McGreevey’s crimes in that area (i.e. treason) may have been far more serious than the pathetic excuse for his resignation. Also, during that same summer of 2004, an Israel mole had been detected in the Pentagon.

    Anyway, I scratched my head, and filed the story in my brain for future retrieval. But I am always willing to bring it up a cocktail parties, and pertinent blogs such as this.

  15. avatar

    Wonder how many illegals work in government? A lot in construction jobs, but how many are in our nation’s capital?
    I’ve never heard an Hispanic elected official say that we need to send illegals home. They are only too happy to have them here. They will play Santa Claus and the illegals will soon be able to re-elect the Hispanics or vote for new Hispanic leaders. The main thing that gets me is that we, as a country, are not being overcome by great armies with superior weapons. No, we’re being overwhelmed primarily by poverty-stricken, uneducated, criminals from a corrupt, hellhole of a country, as well as those countries below it. The sad part is that it could be stopped in a short time. The will is simply not there to defend us.

    • avatar

      The Architect of the US Capitol recently identified illegal aliens as working for subcontractors. Even subcontractors are supposed to use eVerify to check status, but didn’t. They were let off the hook because “they didn’t know” they needed to use eVerify. (From the time I was a kid, I heard “ignorance of the law is no excuse”. Guess that doesn’t apply here.) Some of these illegal aliens had even been given clearances by the FBI, which makes you wonder just how competent they are, doesn’t it? They also needed special ID to enter the construction area, but not all of them had it. Again, just how competent is our federal gov’t, even those working around the White House, Capitol, and other “secure” buildings?