Bieber ‘risks US deportation’ to Canada
Justin Bieber’s run-ins with the law could potentially get him kicked out of the US, the country where the Canadian-born teen idol struck it rich, immigration lawyers say.
Bieber, 19, kept a low profile a day after he was charged with driving under the influence after police caught him drag racing in Miami Beach, Florida, allegedly after drinking and smoking marijuana.
On Twitter, the voice behind the hits Baby and Boyfriend kept an uncharacteristic silence, leaving his 49 million followers to rally behind him with the trending hashtag #WeWillAlwaysSupportYouJustin.
Instead, Bieber let a picture tell 1000 words with an Instagram of himself in a dark hoodie, waving outside jail, alongside an image of Michael Jackson a decade ago when the King of Pop was fighting child molestation charges.
“What more can they say,” read the caption.
Besides the DUI charge, Bieber – released on a $US2500 ($A2861.56) bond – also faces charges of resisting arrest and driving with an expired Georgia state licence behind the wheel of a yellow Lamborghini sports car.
He was already under investigation for allegedly hurling eggs at a neighbour’s house in Los Angeles – an incident that led police to search his mansion, where they seized illicit drugs and arrested one of his associates.
By Friday afternoon, almost 8000 people had signed an online petition on the official White House website calling for Bieber’s deportation.
“He is not only threatening the safety of our people, but he is also a terrible influence on our nation’s youth,” said the petition, which needs 100,000 signatures to elicit a White House response.
Like many non-US entertainers Bieber lives and works in US under a so-called O-1 visa, according to the Hollywood Reporter.
“To qualify for an O-1 visa, the beneficiary must demonstrate extraordinary ability by sustained national or international acclaim and must be coming temporarily to the US to continue work in the area of extraordinary ability,” says the US Citizenship and Immigration Services on its website.
Immigration lawyer Stacy Tolchin, quoted in the Los Angeles Times newspaper, said Bieber’s alleged offences in Miami Beach, while “not good”, were unlikely to add up to a violation of his O-1B status.
But Tolchin added: “Let’s say if it’s assault, a felony assault, and he’s convicted, that’s a big problem.”
A drug conviction would equally pose “a big problem”, she said.
Under the Immigration and Nationality Act, violation of any US or foreign drug law – apart from the possession of a small personal amount of marijuana – is grounds for deportation.