Democratic U.S. Sen. Bob Menendez of New Jersey denounced President Donald Trump over making it "criminal" to be a drunk-driving illegal immigrant, the Washington Free Beacon reported.
Menendez appeared on CNN's "The Situation Room" Monday during which host Wolf Blitzer asked him about a Democratic plan to limit the number of beds in immigration detention centers — a plan that Matt Albence, deputy director of Immigration and Customs Enforcement, vehemently criticized.
"How do you respond?" Blitzer asked Menendez.
"The reason that they are already 8,000 over their budgeted amount, so they're violating the budget, is because of the president's zero-tolerance policy that has turned everyone, regardless of their record, into a criminal," Menendez replied. "For example, if you cross the border undocumented, he has now made you a criminal. He is creating that problem by turning people away who legitimately seek asylum. If a person has a driving while under the influence violation, he is now ... saying ... that's a criminal."
Menendez then championed former President Barack Obama for limiting the illegal immigration focus to "violent criminals."
Hold up there, senator
More than a few folks took issue with Menendez's perspective in the video comments:
- "A DUI isn't criminal?"
- "That was painful to watch, only a man in a suite (sic) with big pockets would look directly into a camera and say that."
- "Soooooo....we want illegal aliens with DUIs....?"
- "I hope my fellow New Jerseyans can see through the nonsense Sen. Menendez deals in and remember that when he's up for re-election.
- "DUIs kill and injure innocent people all the time. It is a crime."
Others hit back at Menendez on Twitter:
- "[H]as he ever hit by a drunk driver? I was by an illegal alien ... He has been charged twice of DUI," one user said. "THIS JERK ALMOST KILLED ME. SHAME ON YOU Bob Menendez. You are a disgrace."
- Bob Menendez should not be making any speech about any policy," another Twitter user said. "No jail for illegal DUIs? What a thoughtless idiot! Kick him out of GOVT."
- "It IS Bob Menendez making that suggestion," another said. "He's as crooked as they come, so of course a DUI doesn't seem criminal to him."
- "Bob Menendez, what the hell are you drinking?" another noted. "DUI is a criminal offense, so that makes you a criminal regardless if you're legal or illegal. Let's get something straight: you guys make the laws; the President is just following them!!! Disgusting whack job!!!"
ICE's 2018 report indicated that DUI led the way among offenses — 80,730 — overseen by Enforcement and Removal Operations.
The senator was charged with conspiracy, bribery, and honest services fraud related to abusing the power of his office, according to CNN. Prosecutors said Menendez accepted gifts — including more than $600,000 in political donations, a luxurious hotel suite in Paris, and free rides on a private jet — from Dr. Salomon Melgen, an ophthalmologist, in return for political favors. Both denied the accusations.