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Shocked face: DHS delayed arrest of Sen. Menendez's illegal alien sex offender intern for election

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By Michelle Malkin  •  December 12, 2012 03:16 PM

Longtime readers know that I’ve reported on the politicization of DHS/ICE under both Democrat and Republican administrations.

I broke the story in November 2011 of how the Bush administration issued a 72-hour cease-and-desist order to all fugitive apprehension teams to spare Obama embarrassment over his Kenyan half-aunt, Zeituni Onyango. Flashback:

I hope Barack Obama remembered to thank George Bush on behalf of his illegal alien aunt this week. The lame-duck Republican president did the Democratic president-elect a generous — and dangerous — favor right before Election Day: Putting politics above homeland security, the Bush administration ordered immigration authorities across the country to halt all deportation enforcement actions until after the campaign season was over.

According to my sources, the Bush administration issued a 72-hour cease-and-desist order to all fugitive apprehension teams to spare Obama embarrassment over his Kenyan half-aunt, Zeituni Onyango. The Associated Press had reported on Nov. 1 that Onyango was a deportation evader – one of an estimated 700,000 illegal alien absconders who have ignored orders from immigration judges to leave the country. The wire report mentioned that the Department of Homeland Security distributed “an unusual nationwide directive within Immigrations and Customs Enforcement requiring any deportations prior to Tuesday’s election to be approved at least at the level of ICE regional directors.”

But the politicized order was even worse than the AP reported. The deportation process wasn’t simply slowed down for public relations reasons and fear of a media backlash. The process was completely frozen.

An Immigration and Customs Enforcement source familiar with Western field offices told me: “The ICE fugitive operations group throughout the U.S. was told to stand down until after the election from arresting or transporting anyone out of the U.S. This was done to avoid any mistakes of deporting or arresting anyone who could have a connection to the election, i.e., anyone from Kenya who could be a relative. The decision was election-driven.”

Another source close to ICE operations in a southern California field office confirmed that immigration officials there received the same directive: “The reason they included all offices in the US was to show that they were not targeting the district Office where Aunti lived. They don’t want to pick her up by mistake and cause a big problem.”

In other words, the Bush Department of Homeland Security determined that protecting Barack Obama from the negative publicity surrounding a potential arrest of his illegal alien aunt was more important to the general welfare of the country than tracking down untold numbers of deportation absconders who received an extra three-day pass last week.

Now, fast-forward less than a year later. Under the Obama administration, things are no better for ICE agents trying to do their jobs. According to the AP, ICE agents who discovered an illegal alien sex offender working in New Jersey Democrat Sen. Bob Menendez’s office were told repeatedly to delay action until after the election.

U.S. Sen. Robert Menendez employed as an unpaid intern in his Senate office an illegal immigrant who was a registered sex offender, now under arrest by immigration authorities, The Associated Press has learned. The Homeland Security Department instructed federal agents not to arrest him until after Election Day, a U.S. official involved in the case told the AP.

Luis Abrahan Sanchez Zavaleta, an 18-year-old immigrant from Peru, was arrested by U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement agents in front of his home in New Jersey on Dec. 6, two federal officials said. Sanchez, who entered the country on a now-expired visitor visa from Peru, is facing deportation and remains in custody.

…The prosecutor’s office in Hudson County, N.J., said Sanchez was found to have violated the law in 2010 and subsequently required to register as a sex offender. The exact charge was unclear because Sanchez was prosecuted as a juvenile and those court records are not publicly accessible. The prosecutor’s office confirmed to AP that Sanchez registered as a sex offender, although his name does not appear on the public registry.

Authorities in Hudson County notified ICE agents in early October that they suspected Sanchez was an illegal immigrant who was a registered sex offender and who may be eligible to be deported. ICE agents in New Jersey notified superiors at the Homeland Security Department because they considered it a potentially high profile arrest, and DHS instructed them not to arrest Sanchez until after the November election, one U.S. official told the AP. ICE officials complained that the delay was inappropriate, but DHS directed them several times not to act, the official said.

Directing DHS not to act has been the m.o. of the bipartisan open-borders crowd since the agency’s founding. Protectionism for law-breakers, punishment and ostracism for border protecters.

Meanwhile, GOP amnesty champion Lindsay Graham and other Republicans are playing footsie with Sen. Menendez on immigration. Same old, same old.

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