The Canadian man accused of breaking into House Speaker Nancy Pelosi’s San Francisco home and attacking her husband with a hammer should have been flagged by immigration officials and barred from returning to the US after overstaying his visa more than two decades ago, a federal official. he said Thursday.
David DePape, 42, entered the United States legally in 2000 and later left the country and returned a few times, including entering in March 2008 at San Diego’s San Ysidro border crossing, a U.S. official who spoke on condition of anonymity said. of anonymity because he was not authorized to discuss the matter.
Most Canadians are not required to obtain a visa to enter the US as tourists and can stay for up to six months. The official said it was unclear why US authorities admitted DePape after he overstayed his entry in 2000.
The Department of Homeland Security did not immediately respond to questions about DePape’s entry into the United States after violating immigration law. He acknowledged in a statement that DePape had been traded to San Diego by Tijuana on March 8, 2008, but did not mention any other involvements.
San Francisco police said DePape confronted Paul Pelosi at the family’s home in Pacific Heights on Oct. 28 and demanded to know where the speaker of the House was. DePape pleaded not guilty to the charges Tuesday and was ordered held without bail. His public defender, Adam Lipson, said he looked forward to providing him with a “robust legal defense.”
DePape faces state charges of attempted murder, burglary and elder abuse. He also faces federal charges, including the attempted kidnapping of a US official. His state case will continue Friday, although the defendant will not appear in court. No trial has been scheduled on federal charges.
In state court filings, prosecutors described the attack in stark terms, saying Paul Pelosi, 82, was knocked unconscious by the hammer attack and woke up in a pool of his own blood.
Two police officers who ran to the home after Paul Pelosi called 911 saw DePape strike him with the hammer at least once, hitting him in the head, according to court documents. Officials said the attack was caught on officers’ body cameras.
DePape grew up in Powell River, British Columbia, but moved to California to be with a girlfriend, stepfather Gene Depp told The Associated Press last week. He has three children with two wives, he said. Gene DePape said the suspect lived with him in Canada until he was 14 and was a quiet boy.
DePape’s ex-girlfriend, Bay Area nudist activist Oxane “Gypsy” Taub, told the San Francisco Chronicle that she met DePape in Hawaii in 2000. The couple lived in Berkeley and had two children during their 15-year relationship.
U.S. officials have long struggled to quantify — let alone track — the people entering the country legally and overstaying their visas, believed to be about 40 percent of the population in the country illegally.
There were 684,499 visa overstays from October 2019 to September 2020 among visitors who arrived by plane or boat — more than the population of Vermont or Wyoming — according to the Department of Homeland Security’s latest annual report. The total number of overnight stays is much higher, but has not been quantified because it does not include how many people arrive by land, the main way for Canadians and Mexicans to enter the United States.
The costs and technological barriers to developing a toll system at congested land crossings with Canada and Mexico are enormous. In the 12-month period to September 2020, more than 52,000 Canadians who came to the US by air or sea had overstayed their legal entry.
Despite the challenges, the US official said DePape’s stay should have been noted in immigration records, which, in theory, should have prevented authorities from admitting him.