It has been reported that Luis Abrahan Sanchez Zavaleta, an unpaid intern working in Senator Bob Menendez's (D - NJ) office was arrested by ICE on December 6, 2012, in New Jersey. It is alleged that the intern is both an undocumented immigrant and a registered sex offender. Hudson County, N.J., prosecutor's office alleges that Zavaleta was required to register as a sex offender after an offense allegedly committed in 2010. Details are unavailable due to the fact that apparently Zavaleta was a minor at the time of the alleged prosecution. It has been reported that Zavaleta entered the United States with a visitor's visa, which he overstayed, and is a native and citizen of Peru.
"I didn't know anything about the young man's status until this Monday so — actually, before I came onto this program. My staff knew about it on Monday, I didn't know it until right before I came onto your program."
Mendez is a leading voice in the Senate on the issue of immigration reform. We can only hope that this incident will have no impact on the Senator's ability to participate in immigration reform negotiations, as his voice is desperately needed in the debate.
Matthew Kolken is a trial lawyer with experience in all aspects of United States Immigration Law including Immigration Courts throughout the United States, and appellate practice before the Board of Immigration Appeals, the U.S. District Courts, and U.S. Courts of Appeals. He is admitted to practice in the courts of the State of New York , the United States District Court for the Western District of New York, the United States Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit, and is a member of the American Immigration Lawyers Association (AILA).