Man featured in Christie 2016 debate

Leo Cervantes, 45, of Highlands, says he came to a United States from Mexico and once faced deportation from U.S. sovereign immigration officials for overstaying his visa.

Now a unapproachable American citizen and restaurateur who owns dual New Jersey eateries and dual food trucks, he has many kind things to contend about Christie and happily seemed in a debate blurb for a governor’s re-election bid. But when it comes to who he is subsidy in a 2016 presidential race, where a issues are opposite than in a state race, Cervantes told NJ Advance Media: “I unequivocally haven’t focused on it yet.”

When one of his restaurants, Chilango’s, in Highlands, suffered inauspicious repairs from Hurricane Sandy in 2012, Cervantes pronounced a Christie administration’s work during a liberation was over reproach.

“Let me tell we something about Gov. Christie, when it comes to him or a major governor? They were great. After Sandy, Chilango’s was sealed for 8 months. The Lieutenant Governor? She was great. She helped me out. Big time.”

And so, in 2013, he concluded to seem in a commercial for a governor’s reelection campaign.

“I believed in what he was saying, since we was partial of it,” pronounced Cervantes, “I did it in English and in Spanish. we am in like, 85 percent of that commercial.”

Christie even invited Cervantes along on a governor’s September 2014 trade goal to Mexico. He accompanied a governor, and says he got to accommodate a U.S. Ambassador to Mexico during a American Embassy there.

When appearing in a 2013 debate ad, Cervantes sealed a waiver permitting his picture to be used in destiny spots, according to a Christie presidential campaign.

But as someone “not into politics,” Cervantes pronounced he didn’t design his correspondence would be used to foster Christie’s presidential run. His entrance in a Christie 2016 ad was initial reported by a internal Monmouth County-focused blog, MoreMonmouthMusings.

“I was surprised,” he said, before joking, “Obviously they wanted someone really large for a ad.”

Kidding aside, Cervantes says a story of how he became an American should give a stream stand of GOP possibilities postponement about building a large wall along a southern border.

“They can build walls,” he said, “but it will be a rubbish of money.”

Cervantes pronounced he entered a U.S. on a visa he performed from a U.S. Embassy to Mexico – a same one he recently visited with Christie – in 1989.

Hoping to immigrate legally, he pronounced he approached a New Jersey immigration profession about securing a long-term work assent in 1991.

“I trust in doing things a right way,” he said. “I adore this country.”

But as it incited out, Cervantes pronounced a immigration profession he defended was using a scam. For $750, he said, she’d guaranteed work permits, yet unsuccessful to divulge that she was doing so by secretly filing domestic haven claims for them.

Cervantes pronounced he was astounded when he got a minute from what was afterwards a Immigration and Naturalization Service in 1993 seeking usually what harm he was seeking insurance from. Explaining that he wasn’t journey anything and that he usually wanted to work, he shortly found himself confronting deportation proceedings.

Cervantes pronounced his employer, Robert Zweben, afterwards owners of Shadowbrook Catering in Shrewsbury, concluded to unite him for a immature card. Before it was approved, though, he wound adult marrying his girlfriend, who was an American citizen.

Having transient harsh misery on a streets of a mega-slum in a northeast dilemma of Mexico City’s sovereign district, Cervantes pronounced he strongly disagrees with Donald Trump and other immigration hardliners about because Mexicans immigrate to America though documentation.

“People speak about because these people are coming, yet they don’t go into a genuine problem,” says Cervantes, “Which is: The cartels…The (drug) cartels are removing bigger and bigger and stronger and stronger. They scare families. People don’t wish that – they wish to escape. They risk their lives (immigrating illegally) rather than be terrorized by a drug cartels.”

He pronounced those presidential possibilities who are so discerning to decider Mexican immigrants as criminals should ask themselves a few questions: ”‘What would we do if we were a unchanging Mexican citizen, and we don’t wish your kids to be kidnapped, or cut adult and chopped into pieces by a drug conglomeration for not similar to filch for them?’” ”Would we cranky a limit and face discrimination, or would we stay there and wait for that to happen?”

Samantha Smith, mouthpiece for a Christie campaign, stressed that Cervantes has corroborated a administrator and concurred immigration is a pivotal emanate for 2016.

“Mr. Cervantes has been a longtime believer of a Governor and respects his ability to lead a state of New Jersey,” Smith said. “Americans determine that need to revive clever care in Washington D.C. to residence a tough issues confronting this nation including regulating a damaged immigration system.”

Unlike Trump, Christie doesn’t support building a wall along a whole Mexican border, yet recently topsy-turvy himself and pronounced he no longer supports a trail to citizenship for immigrants who arrived illegally.

For his part, Cervantes says he believes that a millions of undocumented immigrants who work tough daily and are differently law-abiding taxpayers do merit a trail to citizenship, supposing they pass an endless credentials check.

Cervantes pronounced he hasn’t done adult his mind about who he’ll behind for boss in 2016, yet he feels strongly adequate about immigration remodel to let it beam his choice.

“You should have a trail to citizenship,” he says, “Not usually (for) anybody. First find out who’s who. But as prolonged as we infer what we are and what your intentions are, OK. It should be like your credit check. ‘You wish to buy a car? How’s your credit?’ If it’s great, acquire to America. Whoever is charity that, we support 100 percent.”