The suspect in the attack on Pelosi was in the US illegally, officials say

The suspect in the attack on Pelosi was in the US illegally, officials say

WASHINGTON – The Canadian man accused of attacking Paul Pelosi with a hammer and trying to kidnap Speaker Nancy Pelosi had been living in the United States for years with expired immigration status, Department of Homeland Security officials said Thursday.

David DePape, 42, who authorities say broke into the Pelosis’ home in San Francisco on Friday, entered the United States legally on March 8, 2008, from Mexico through a California port of entry, the department said. Normally, Canadian visitors traveling to the United States for business or pleasure are admitted for six months.

Prosecutors say Mr. DePape’s intent last week was to take the House speaker hostage, “to seriously harm her” and make an example of her to other members of Congress. It faces several states and federal feesincluding attempted kidnapping, assault on a relative of a federal official, attempted murder, elder abuse and assault with a deadly weapon.

Mrs. Pelosi was in Washington at the time of the attack.

Attack on Paul Pelosi, 82, recovering in intensive care at San Francisco hospital, comes at a time of heightened politically motivated violence before next week’s midterm elections. In recent years there has been a flurry of threats against political figures of both sides. Mrs. Pelosi, the second in the presidency, was one of them highest target figures.

While some Republicans condemned the attack on Mr. Pelosi, others did spread baseless conspiracy theories about the attack and the attacker’s motives. They added Immigration status of Mr. DePape to their list of criticisms of President Biden’s immigration policy.

Immigration status of Mr. DePapea was previously reported by The Washington Post. The exact number of people in the United States who have overstayed their time in the country is unknown; estimates range from hundreds of thousands millions of people. It’s a civil offense.

When Mr. DePape was arrested Friday, Immigration and Customs Enforcement officials told local law enforcement to notify the agency before releasing him from custody, as is typical in situations where people in the United States illegally are arrested on criminal charges. application. State prosecutors asked the court not to release Mr. DePape on bail.

According to a 2020 Department of Homeland Security ReportCanadians represented the second largest group of people, after Mexicans, who overstayed their time in the country.

Historically, the United States has struggled to consistently document people entering and leaving the country by land — a method most commonly used by Canadians and Mexicans — compared to people traveling by air, said Julia Gelatt, senior policy analyst at the Migration Policy Institute. , a bipartisan think tank in Washington.

Although Mr. DePape’s expired immigration status would mean he could not legally work in the country, he would likely not come under the consideration of immigration authorities unless he was arrested, she said.

In recent years, Mr. DePape became homeless and spent his time engrossed in the online world of right-wing conspiracy theories. After the attack, he told police he was tired of the “lies” coming out of Washington and that he was planned an attack on other prominent state and local politicians.

Mr. DePape has pleaded not guilty to several state felony charges. A trial on the federal charges against him has not yet been scheduled.

Mr. DePape’s public defender said the defense could include arguing that his client was “vulnerable” to the misinformation and conspiracy theories that have become part of American politics. The defense is similar to one used by several people accused in the January 6, 2021 attack on the Capitol, but so far has not been shown to be conquering one.

Luke Broadwater and Alan Fire contributed to the reporting.

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