The clamor for deportation (he’s a Canadian citizen) grew louder after his arrest in Miami (Jan. 23) for allegedly drag racing and driving drunk on an expired license.
He’s also in hot water for allegedly egging his neighbor’s house and causing $20,000 in damage to expensive Venetian plaster and imported hardwood doors.
So far, 27,362 people (as of Jan. 25) had signed a deportation petition on the Obama Administration’s “We the People” web site. If the petition gets 100,000 signatures, the White House must respond to it.
The petition doesn’t mince words.
“We would like to see the dangerous, reckless, destructive, and drug abusing, Justin Bieber deported and his green card revoked,” the petition reads.
“He is not only threatening the safety of our people but he is also a terrible influence on our nations youth. We the people would like to remove Justin Bieber from our society.”
Of course, it isn’t quite that easy.
In 2011, the most recent year available, 396,906 people were deported from the United States. Just over half, 54.6 percent were criminal offenders. The rest were here illegally.
Bieber, however, hasn’t been convicted of anything yet. And the chances of him being convicted of a felony that would warrant deportation are slim at best.
To be deported on criminal grounds, Bieber would have to be convicted of a crime involving “moral turpitude,” according to the U.S. Immigration and Naturalization Service.
“Malicious destruction of property” happens to be among those crimes. If he is convicted of felony vandalism in the egg incident, he might be exposed to deportation.
A person can also be deported if he is convicted of two separate crimes. Technically, he would qualify on those grounds if he is convicted in California and Miami.
But liquor violations, driving on a suspended or revoked license and disorderly conduct are not crimes involving moral turpitude, according to immigration guidelines. So Bieber would be in the clear on the Miami charges.
In any event, it’s a huge gray area. Bieber’s standing in the community, reflected in his visa, would add to the difficulty in deporting him.
Say what you will about his talent, he’s working here under an O-1 visa. They’re only given to individuals who demonstrate extraordinary ability or receive sustained national or international acclaim.
That’s not to say celebrities haven’t been deported.
Jamaican heavyweight boxer Trevor Berbick was deported after sexually assaulting the family baby sitter in 1992. He even served time in jail.
But even he wasn’t deported for committing the crime or going to jail; only afterward for violating his probation.
Bieber is no Berbick.
His high-priced lawyers will likely get most of the charges reduced or dropped. But if probation is part of any plea deal, he’ll have a bulls-eye on his back.
So forget all the hand-wringing and florid media speculation over deportation; it ain’t gonna happen, at least under present circumstances.
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