Immigration reform takes the center stage this week, beginning today with an outline for a bipartisan plan from the U.S. Senate. Tomorrow, Barack Obama flies to Las Vegas to deliver a speech of his own plan for making illegal immigrants legal. The Senate plan would enable a large number of the some 11-plus million illegal immigrants to become permanent residents. There will be hoops to jump through and most will have a long wait behind those who have legally applied for citizenship. But the Senate plan may be overshadowed by a dark cloud of a sex scandal as one of its authors, Senator Robert Menendez (D-NJ), is under investigation by the FBI for allegations of hiring underage prostitutes during trips to the Dominican Republic.
This comes at a bad time for Sen. Menendez, who is slated to be promoted to head the Senate′s Foreign Affairs Committee now that John Kerry will be replacing Hillary Clinton as Secretary of State. One can only imagine the sort of jokes to be made about Menendez and foreign affairs! According to documents which surfaced late last week, the Federal Bureau of Investigations has been probing the allegations of possible criminal actions by Menendez since August, 2012. At least one of the prostitutes involved has been interviewed. She claims that three years ago, when she was only 16 years old, Menendez had sex with her and then only paid her $100 instead of the $500 promised.
While prostitution is legal in the Dominican Republic, it is still against United States laws for a U.S. citizen to engage in such acts with a minor when abroad. The probe began during a routine review of lists of gifts that members of Congress must provide. The trips to the Dominican Republic were paid for by a Miami dentist who has been a financial backer of Menendez for many years.
So how will this impact the new plan for immigration reform by the U.S. Senate? Is there enough credibility with the other seven senators backing the bill to make illegal immigrants legal citizens a law? How will there proposal compare with the one Barack Obama will announce tomorrow in Las Vegas? Will the whole matter become overshadowed by the brewing sex scandal involving allegations of Sen. Robert Menendez hiring underage prostitutes in the Dominican Republic? Oddly enough, when the senator appeared yesterday on ABC News′ ″This Week with George Stephanopoulos″, George never asked a single question on the allegations. Why this is strange is because, according to documents released last week, ABC News has had the story even before the FBI, with their investigation beginning in May, 2012 while our Justice Department did not begin its probe until August.