White House Petition to Deport Justin Bieber Passes 100,000 Threshold Requiring a Response

Saturday, February 01, 2014
(photo: Miami Beach Police)

Immigration reform is near the top of many Washington to-do lists, although there’s a difference of opinion on how it should be achieved. But a petition on the whitehouse.gov site urges the President to deport not an undocumented worker, but a pop star who’s becoming as famous for his brushes with the law as he is for his music.


The petition urges that 19-year-old Justin Bieber, who was arrested January 22 in Miami Beach for driving under the influence and drag racing, be deported. Bieber, who also faces charges of resisting arrest in the case, is from Canada.


The White House has said it will issue a response to all petitions reaching the threshold of 100,000 signatures. The Bieber petition has met that test. However, there’s an out: according to the We The People site where petitions are created, “In a few rare cases (such as specific procurement, law enforcement, or adjudicatory matters), the White House response might not address the facts of a particular matter to avoid exercising improper influence.” Since any deportation would be handled as a law-enforcement issue, the Obama administration might choose to pass on addressing the Bieber situation.


Bieber is in the United States on an O-1 visa. To obtain such a visa, ”the beneficiary must demonstrate extraordinary ability by sustained national or international acclaim and must be coming temporarily to the United States to continue work in the area of extraordinary ability,” according to the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services website.


International acclaim casts a wide net. Among those in the United States on an O-1 visa is former Playboy playmate Shera Bechard, who’s credited with creating the “Frisky Friday” Twitter phenomenon, where women post risqué, but non-nude, photos of themselves on the social media site.


Last week’s arrest wasn’t Bieber’s first encounter with the law. He’s under investigation in Los Angeles County for throwing eggs at a neighbor’s home. The incident is being investigated as a felony because of the amount of the damage, estimated at $20,000.


Still, it’s not likely that Bieber will be deported. Immigration lawyer Stacy Tolchin, quoted in the Los Angeles Times, said a deportation would be more likely if Bieber were convicted of a crime such as felony assault or a drug offense.


The petition might even turn out to be moot. On Wednesday, Bieber turned himself in to police back in Canada for yet another alleged offense. He is charged with assaulting a limousine driver in Toronto in the early hours of December 30, 2013. He is due to appear in court on March 10.

-Steve Straehley


To Learn More:

Deport Justin Bieber and Revoke his Green Card (We the People Petition, WhiteHouse.gov)

Criminal Charges Could Get Justin Bieber Deported (by Esther Yu-his Lee, ThinkProgress)

Justin Bieber Charged in Toronto with Assault, Accused of Striking Driver (by John R. Kennedy, Global News)

Online Petition Asks White House: Deport Justin Bieber (Agence France-Presse)

Playboy Playmate Gains “Extraordinary Ability” Visa (by Matt Bewig, AllGov)


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