Illegal immigration from Mexico is reportedly on the decline, but Gian Carlo Perrotti may boost the stats for illicit Canadian border crossings all by himself. The Canadian was recently caught trying to sneak across the border into Washington, and will now likely be deported. Let's just say this isn't the first time he's gotten his ticket home paid for by Uncle Sam.
A check of the man's fingerprints revealed his identity to be Gian Carlo Perrotti, a 62-year-old Canadian citizen "with an FBI record showing multiple arrests and several convictions." Perrotti allegedly provided a sworn statement admitting "he had been deported numerous times," and did not have permission to be in the state park.
According to the Western Washington U.S. Attorney's Office, with his latest arrest Perrotti is poised to set a record in Washington for the number of times a single individual has been deported. Court documents state that Perrotti has been granted 15 "voluntary returns" to Canada, and he has been deported an additional 12 times from cities all across the country. He was first caught in Buffalo in 1970, and he has averaged three or four deportations every decade since, departing from Chicago, Los Angeles, San Francisco, Dallas, Cincinnati, and, most recently, Blaine in 2009.
"Yeah, it's a record," says Emily Langlie, spokeswoman for the Western Washington U.S. Attorney's Office. "[Perrotti] has status in Canada, and he just crosses over to the U.S., gets picked up and either sent back or deported."
Perrotti has already served a total of 86 months in prison owing to his inability to stay on his side of the international boundary line, including a five-year stint in 2001 that stemmed from an illegal re-entry after deportation charge in northern Texas. Based on his comically long rap-sheet, Perrotti could conceivably face an enhanced sentence (the statutory maximum is 10 years) but Langlie says prosecutors are weighing their options.
"We try to make sure that increased prison time is a penalty that is going to get a response," Langlie says. "You really have to look at whether, in this instance, given the age and the thought process of this defendant, a longer prison sentence is going to achieve the goal."
It remains unclear why exactly Perrotti keeps wandering across the border, or how he's had the misfortune of getting caught and shipped home so many times. Peter Avenia, Perrotti's public defender, declined to offer any details beyond what's included in the court documents, except to say, the case has "some fairly unusual and special circumstances." Earlier court records indicate Perrotti has gone by several aliases, including John Palermo and John Frank Perrotti.
Perrotti is currently being held at the Northwest Detention Center in Tacoma. Langlie says the standard sentencing range if Perrotti plead guilty to the felony charge of illegal re-entry after deportation is 10 to 16 months, but he might get off light because he's not causing harm, just crossing the border.
"He doesn't appear to commit criminal acts," Langlie says. "He just comes here illegally."