Elections

Fact check: Trump’s claim that Democrats let cop killer stay in U.S. is false

President Donald Trump’s closing argument for the midterm elections includes a tweet featuring convicted cop killer Luis Bracamontes, who killed two Sacramento-area deputies in a 2014 rampage.

The tweet features video of Bracamontes spewing profanities while on trial in Sacramento County Superior Court, a frequent occurrence in the years of court hearings he faced.

But the president’s claim that “Democrats let him into our country” is not entirely accurate, and neither is the claim that “Democrats let him stay.”

Bracamontes, who is now on death row at San Quentin State Prison for the October 2014 slayings of Sacramento County Sheriff’s Deputy Danny Oliver and Placer County Sheriff’s Deputy Michael Davis Jr., first came into the United States in 1993, when he was 16 and Democrat Bill Clinton was president.

Bracamontes, who grew up in Sinaloa, Mexico, entered the country illegally, crossing into Arizona.

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The Maricopa County (Ariz.) Sheriff’s Office has told The Sacramento Bee previously that he was first arrested in Phoenix in 1996. Prosecutors in Phoenix say he was arrested Sept. 25, 1996, on deportable drug offenses related to marijuana possession and sentenced to four months in jail starting in January 1997.

Bracamontes served his time in then-Sheriff Joe Arpaio’s tent-city jail, then was handed over to federal immigration agents and deported on June 3, 1997, during Clinton’s second term.

He apparently did not stay in Mexico long. Records in Arizona show he was arrested on drug charges again in Phoenix in 1998, then released “for reasons unknown” by Arpaio’s office. Arpaio is a Republican.

Bracamontes was next arrested May 4, 2001, on marijuana charges in Maricopa County, and deported three days later. Republican George W. Bush was president at the time, and was president when Bracamontes slipped back into the United States a short time later.

The date of his re-entry is not clear, but records show Bracamontes was married in Maricopa County on Feb. 28, 2002, when Bush was president.

By then, Bracamontes had been living near Salt Lake City where he remained until 2014, when he and his wife embarked upon a methamphetamine-fueled trip that ended with their arrests in Placer County after the deputies were killed.

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