Public petitions for Justin Bieber deportation, White House to respond

bieber_mugshot

(CNN) — Are criminal charges just the beginning of Justin Bieber’s legal troubles?

Depending on how things play out, the Canadian citizen could also have an immigration case to worry about. Critics of the crooner are pushing authorities to send the teen pop star north of the border after he was arrested in Miami Beach, Florida, on suspicion of drunk driving, resisting arrest and driving without a valid license.

The White House will now need to address a recent petition that has passed the 100,000-signature mark required to get an official response from the Obama administration. Wednesday evening at 6, the total was at 130,890 signatures.

The petition is clear and to the point: “Deport Justin Bieber and revoke his green card.”

We the people of the United States feel that we are being wrongly represented in the world of pop culture. We would like to see the dangerous, reckless, destructive and drug-abusing Justin Bieber deported and his green card revoked. He is not only threatening the safety of our people, but he is also a terrible influence on our nation’s youth. We the people would like to remove Justin Bieber from our society.”

The White House had to address another popular petition in early 2013, to build a real weapons system Death Star based on the Star Wars one. The White House that time simply said “No.”

The same day as that petition was created, another surfaced, this one in defense of Bieber. It is titled “Disregard and Remove The Petition regarding the want for the Deportation of Justin Bieber.” Wednesday evening at 6, the total was at 366 signatures.

#DeportBieber also trended on Twitter last week, with critics pushing authorities to send the teen pop star north of the border after he was arrested in Miami Beach, Florida, on suspicion of drunk driving, resisting arrest and driving without a valid license.

It’s not likely Bieber will be kicked out of the United States, immigration law experts say. But even so, criminal charges could complicate things for the 19-year-old singer — and if he’s charged with and convicted of any drug offenses, that could change the equation.

What crimes lead to deportation?

In addition to the charges he faces in Florida, investigators in California are also weighing whether Bieber will face a felony vandalism charge tied to an egg attack there.

Immigration lawyers say convictions on those charges wouldn’t generally lead to deportation for someone like Bieber, who has a visa allowing him to legally live in the United States because of his “extraordinary ability” in the arts.

That’s because those charges aren’t considered to be aggravated felonies or crimes of moral turpitude — the two types of crimes that federal law defines as grounds for the deportation of non-citizen immigrants.

And according to federal law, only violent crimes and sentences longer than one year result in a re-evaluation of a person’s visa status.

Translation for those of you who aren’t legal eagles: Bieber’s probably not going anywhere.

But when it comes to deportation proceedings, it’s not a simple matter.

“It’s a very complex area of immigration law,” said Annaluisa Padilla, a California immigration lawyer.

An “aggravated felony” sounds severe. And often they are; crimes like murder, rape or sexual abuse are among the violations that fit that description.

But crimes that might sound less serious to the average person can also be considered aggravated felonies.

In 2000, for example, a federal appeals court determined that a man with a green card was an aggravated felon after a misdemeanor conviction for stealing Tylenol and cigarettes, according to the Transactional Records Access Clearinghouse Immigration project at Syracuse University, which follows immigration trends and statistics.

Sometimes, Padilla said, a crime considered a misdemeanor at the state level is viewed as a felony by federal immigration officials.

The bottom line: Until investigators finish weighing their options and the criminal case against Bieber proceeds, it’s impossible to predict how his immigration status could be impacted.

Drugs could change the equation

After his arrest in Florida last week, Bieber “made some statements that he had consumed some alcohol, and that he had been smoking marijuana and consumed some prescription medication,” Miami Beach Police Chief Raymond Martinez said.

Since then, breathalyzer tests have suggested Bieber was not too drunk to legally drive when he was pulled over by Miami Beach police early Thursday. But it could be two or three weeks before tests that should give a more accurate blood-alcohol reading and could tell if he was high on pot are back from the lab.

When authorities searched Bieber’s California home earlier this month, a deputy found suspected illegal drugs at the bedside of Bieber house guest Lil Za, who now faces a felony drug charge. But a detective who searched other parts of the home told CNN last week that he saw “no sign of drugs” there.

Bieber hasn’t been charged with any drug-related crimes in connection with either case.

But if drugs were involved, that could change the equation when it comes to immigration issues, experts say.

“He may have a difficult time returning to the U.S. after traveling,” Padilla said. “If there is a conviction on the use of marijuana, he may run into some issues when renewing his visa or even attempting to apply for residency.”

And if authorities add a drug charge into the mix, that could eventually put deportation on the table, said Ira Kurzban, an attorney in Miami who wrote a widely used reference book on immigration law.

“Deportation grounds for drug-related crimes are broadly defined,” Kurzban said. But a drunk-driving charge that isn’t drug-related, he said, “is not a basis to deport somebody.”

A double standard?

Bieber was released Thursday from a Miami jail an hour after he made a brief appearance through a video link before a judge, who set a $2,500 bond that afternoon.

Since his arrest, some critics have wondered whether Bieber wouldn’t be deported for reasons that have little to do with the law.

In a CNN.com opinion column last week, CNN contributor Ruben Navarrette suggested the wealthy singer’s star status might be getting him special treatment.

“Bieber has an estimated net worth of about $130 million,” Navarrette wrote. “I bet that, right about now, many of those Mexican immigrants who were deported because they came to the attention of local police officers for a burned-out taillight, or for not making a complete stop at an intersection, are wishing that they had been a rich, white kid with marginal music ability and too much money. If so, things might have gone differently for them.”

But Padilla says there’s a key difference between such examples and Bieber’s case: He has a visa.

“The reason an individual who had failed to stop at a stop sign or is driving without a license comes in contact with immigration authorities is because they’re undocumented,” Padilla said. “You’re not comparing apples to apples.”

CNN’s Alan Duke and Todd Leopold contributed to this report.

10 comments

  • Sam

    Obama doesn’t believe In Immigration Laws, enforcement of them,
    or legal citizen’s voices, demands, and protests that are not in accordance with his Agenda issues.
    Moral turpitude would go right on over his Ego and point his finger at him.

  • Sam

    Did he contribute to Obama’s Fund Raisers? Is he on Obama’s A List?
    Heard Obama knows Justin, had his WH call Justin and arrange a
    meeting for a girl who recently lost her father. Justin said he would when back on the East Coast. Connections? DOJ Investigation into
    Justice for Justin?

  • davidr

    yea obama will throw him out and lose 100’s of voters that are his close friends.nope,wont happen.oh and I thought acting black was now racist,guess he gets a pass while a bunch of college kids don’t?hippos’s

  • starzy

    as long as he got the money he just going to keep on do it he knows he will just get have to pay small fee if he starts to run out of money im sure he will just go right back to makeing more music get more money

  • Glen Allen

    Deporting him will not stop him from performing and recording abroad and on the internet and radio, etc., all of which will still influence the youth in the USA. It is to our benefit to leave him here and collect the taxes he pays on all of his assets.

    Hopefully he will grow out of this phase soon, but if not, he will have to answer to any laws he breaks, we have so many drunks and druggies here now that contribute very little to nothing, I say let him stay, and pay.

  • Jackie

    My kids used to LOVE this dude!! But my kids are smart enough (boy 11 and girl 16) to know when someones actions are getting out of hand and stops idolizing them ex..Justin Beiber, Miley Cyrus etc. I mean when this dude spat on his fans…that just shows how much he cares about anyone but himself!! As far as deportation goes…i could care less!!

Comments are closed.

Follow

Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

Join 1,690 other followers