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

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The man accused of attacking House Speaker Nancy Pelosi’s husband with a hammer is a Canadian citizen who was in the United States illegally and faces possible deportation after his criminal charges are resolved, the Department of Homeland Security said Wednesday night.

“U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) placed an immigration detainer on David Depapp, a Canadian national, in the San Francisco County Jail on Nov. 1 following his arrest on Oct. 28,” an DHS official said in an email.

ICE, which reports to Homeland Security, sends “detainers” to state and local law enforcement agencies, asking them to notify the agency before releasing a foreign national who could also be deported. Deportation is a civil process that often follows the resolution of criminal cases, but immigrants have also been detained after posting bail.

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

Relatives have told the media that DePepe grew up in British Columbia, Canada’s westernmost province, but his trajectory to northern California has remained a mystery.

Federal records show DePape entered the United States legally on March 8, 2008, through Mexico. He passed through the San Ysidro Port of Entry, an official border crossing that connects San Diego County to Tijuana.

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Officials said visas are not generally required for Canadians traveling for business or pleasure, and he was admitted as a “temporary visitor” traveling for pleasure, DHS said.

Canadians admitted for entertainment are generally allowed to stay for up to six months. DHS did not say exactly when DePape’s authorization to remain in the U.S. expired.

Pelosi’s attacker told police he was on a “suicide mission,” according to court filings.

The Canadian government confirmed this week that it is working on Depape’s case.

“Canadian officials are working with local authorities to obtain more information,” Global Affairs Canada spokeswoman Charlotte McLeod said. “For privacy reasons, no additional information can be released.”

California, home to millions of immigrants, is a sanctuary state and has passed laws restricting state and local law enforcement from cooperating with immigration officials, which has frustrated immigration officials who seek to deport immigrants arrested for crimes.

California has exemptions for people with serious criminal histories, and it remains unclear how DePape’s case will play out. The State Attorney’s Office has stated that he poses an extreme risk to security.

Federal authorities on Monday charged DePape with attempted kidnapping and attempted assault, alleging he broke into Pelosi’s home, beat her husband with a hammer in front of police and then said he wanted to break Nancy Pelosi’s knees to warn other Democrats.

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DePape was also arraigned Tuesday in San Francisco County Superior Court on state charges of attempted murder, assault with a deadly weapon, abuse of the elderly, burglary, false imprisonment and battery on a public official.

Court records show Depape allegedly used a hammer to break into the house of the House speaker in San Francisco early Friday and smashed her husband, who was sleeping upstairs.

“Are you Paul Pelosi?” DePape allegedly said when he confronted Pelosi, court records show, standing over him with a hammer and a zipper. “Where’s Nancy?”

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

State prosecutors have called the attack “near fatal.”

Paul Pelosi underwent surgery to repair a “fractured skull and serious injuries to his right hand and wrist,” Nancy Pelosi’s spokeswoman Drew Hamill said in a statement. The spokeswoman said her husband was making steady progress toward recovery.

Depp allegedly told police he was on a “suicide mission” and created a target list of state and federal politicians in an effort to refute the “lies” being told in Washington.

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DePape had also published hundreds of blog posts in recent months supporting far-right figures and writing dissent against Jews, black people, Democrats, the media and transgender people.

The alleged attacker filled the blog with misguided thoughts days before Pelosi’s attack

The attack added to growing concerns across the country about the threat posed by domestically violent extremists in the run-up to the Nov. 8 midterm elections.

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 memo said the most likely threat “comes from lone offenders who use election-related issues to justify violence.”

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

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

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

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