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How Pelosi attack suspect David DePape lived in US with expired visa

  • About half the population of unauthorized immigrants entered on a visa, rather than as border-crossers.
  • Experts say there are not nearly enough immigration agents to locate these millions of people.
  • But the case also reveals a bias, some say, about undocumented immigrants from ‘predominately white countries.’
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David DePape, the man accused of attacking Paul Pelosi, is a Canadian who entered the United States nearly two decades ago on a tourist visa and simply remained. 

That fact only emerged because he was charged with a serious crime – the most common way for U.S. immigration officials to catch up with people who have been in the country without authorization, according to analysts.

So-called visa overstays make up about half of the unauthorized population in the United States and Canadian overstays make up a significant portion of them, analysts said. 

Paul Pelosi, the husband of House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, in a file photograph from March 2022. He was attacked by a man with a hammer in his home in late October.

A San Francisco judge on Friday kept DePape, charged with attacking the husband of House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, in jail without bail while he awaits trial.

Prosecutors alleged he knocked Paul Pelosi unconscious with a hammer in his home on Oct. 28 during an early morning break-in at the couple’s San Francisco home. DePape has pleaded not guilty to the charges. 

How DePape, who is white, was able to stay for so long in the U.S. without being arrested and deported by U.S. immigration officials, while Latino and Black migrants are routinely deported, underscores inherent biases in the country’s immigration system, said Muzaffar Chishti, senior fellow at the Migration Policy Institute, a Washington-based nonpartisan think tank. 

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