Immigration officials confirm alleged Pelosi attacker was in the U.S. illegally

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The Canadian citizen accused of attacking House Speaker Nancy Pelosi’s husband with a hammer is in the United States illegally and is likely to be deported after his criminal charges are resolved, the Department of Homeland Security said late Wednesday.

“US Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) booked an immigration detainer at the San Francisco County Jail, Nov. 1, following the Oct. 28 arrest of David DePape, a Canadian citizen,” DHS officials said in an email.

ICE, which is under Homeland Security, sends “detainers” to state and local law enforcement who are asked to notify the agency before releasing a deportable foreign national. Deportations are civil proceedings that usually take place after criminal cases are resolved, but immigrants are arrested after they post bail.

DePape, 42, faces state and federal criminal charges in the early Friday morning attack on Paul Pelosi, 82, and for threatening Nancy Pelosi. DePape has pleaded not guilty and remains in custody.

DePape grew up in Canada’s western province of British Columbia, but his path to Northern California remains a mystery, relatives told the media.

Federal records show that DePape legally entered the United States on March 8, 2008, via Mexico. They crossed at the San Ysidro Port of Entry, the official border crossing that connects San Diego County with Tijuana.

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Canadians traveling for business or pleasure generally do not need visas, officials said, and they were included as “temporary visitors,” traveling for pleasure, DHS said.

Canadians admitted for pleasure are usually permitted to stay for up to six months. DHS did not say exactly when DePape’s permission to remain in the United States expired.

Pelosi’s attacker told police he was on a ‘suicide mission,’ court documents allege

The Canadian government confirmed this week that it is working on the DePape case.

“Canadian officials are engaging with local authorities to obtain more information,” said Global Affairs Canada spokeswoman Charlotte MacLeod. “Due to privacy considerations, no further information will be disclosed.”

California, home to millions of immigrants, is a sanctuary state and has passed laws limiting state and local law enforcement cooperation with immigration officials, which has discouraged immigration officials from deporting immigrants arrested for crimes.

California has exemptions for people with serious criminal histories, and it’s unclear how DePape’s case will unfold. State prosecutors said he posed an extreme safety risk.

Federal authorities on Monday filed kidnapping and assault charges against DePape, who said he broke into Pelosi’s home, beat her husband with a hammer in front of police and later said he wanted to break Nancy Pelosi’s kneecaps as a warning to other Democrats.

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DePape was arraigned Tuesday in San Francisco County Superior Court on state charges of attempted murder, assault with a deadly weapon, elder abuse, residential robbery, false imprisonment and threatening life or great bodily harm to a public officer.

DePape used a hammer to break into the House speaker’s San Francisco home early Friday morning and woke her husband, who was sleeping upstairs, court documents show.

“Are you Paul Pelosi?” When DePape confronted Pelosi, court documents show, he stood over her holding a hammer and zip ties. “Where’s Nancy at?”

Paul Pelosi managed to call 911. But when officers arrived and told DePape to drop the hammer, he pulled free and hit Pelosi in the head, knocking him unconscious.

State prosecutors called the attack “deadly.”

Paul Pelosi underwent surgery to repair a “fractured skull and serious injuries to his right arm and hand,” according to a statement from Nancy Pelosi’s spokesman Drew Hamill. The speaker said her husband was making steady progress towards recovery.

DePape has told police he is on a “suicide mission” and has created a target list of state and federal politicians in his quest to quash the “lies” coming out of Washington.

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DePape has published hundreds of blog posts in recent months supporting right-wing figures and writing diatribes against Jews, black people, Democrats, the media and transgender people.

The alleged assailant filled the blog with delusional thoughts in the days leading up to the Pelosi attack

The attack added to growing concerns nationwide about threats posed by domestic violent extremists as the Nov. 8 midterm elections approach.

The FBI, DHS and other agencies issued a memo last week warning that extremism could increase in the 90 days after the election, according to a copy of the document obtained by The Washington Post.

“The most plausible threat is posed by lone criminals who leverage election-related issues to justify violence,” the memo said.

Concerns about election-related violence prompted President Biden to deliver a speech in Washington on Wednesday night.

“We must, with one overwhelming unified voice, speak as a country and say there is no place, no place, for voter intimidation or political violence in America, whether it’s directed at Democrats or Republicans,” Biden said. “No place, period. No place, ever. “

Holly Bailey, Aaron C. Davis and Dalton Bennett contributed to this report.

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