BIEBER UPDATE: MORE FROM THE CROSS-SECTION OF POP CULTURE AND IMMIGRATION
A lot has happened in the life of Justin Bieber since I blogged about potential immigration consequences of Bieber’s recent run-ins with the law. First, Bieber was arrested in Canada and charged with assault after allegedly punching a limo driver who would not turn the music up as loud as Bieber wanted it. Second, Bieber’s plane was stopped and searched coming into the U.S. from Canada on Super Bowl weekend, and Bieber was detained for questioning by customs. Third, more than 240,000 people signed a petition on the White House’s webpage asking that Bieber be deported from the United States.
What does this all mean for Bieber’s immigration status? With regard to the assault charge Bieber is facing, if he is ultimately convicted of simple assault his immigration status would not be affected as long as Bieber is not sentenced to more than 12 months confinement. If I had to guess, I would say it is more likely that one of Bieber’s cronies will take the fall, or a settlement will be reached between Bieber and the driver that includes the driver having charges dropped against Bieber. Regardless, the assault charges will most likely be a non-issue as it relates to Bieber’s status.
With regard to Bieber’s brief detention, and the search of his plane upon entering the U.S. from Canada, this most likely means that Bieber has landed himself on a watch list with Homeland Security. Bieber being added to the watch list is no doubt due to his recent arrests, pending charges, and documented drug use. Bieber better get used to this treatment any time he returns to the U.S. from abroad. Given Bieber’s recent bad behavior, Homeland Security is clearly looking for any reason to deny him entry into the U.S., and since Bieber apparently has no regard for the law, I see this as a potentially big issue and would not be surprised to learn from the news that Bieber is eventually denied entry to the U.S. after a brief trip abroad because of something authorities find on the plane, or because of an answer that Bieber gives during questioning.
Finally, the “Deport Justin Bieber and Revoke His Green Card” petition. This petition will get media attention, and the White House will apparently have to issue an official response, but aside from that, this is a non-issue. I doubt the petition will even hurt Justin Bieber’s feelings. I anticipate that the White House will issue a generic response saying it does not condone bad behavior, but that visa matters are left to the Department of Homeland Security and the Department of State by regulation. That will be the end of the petition.
I hadn’t planned on writing again about Bieber, but I couldn’t resist given the amount of fodder he provides. At this rate, this may become a weekly blog. Stay tuned.
Posted by Dustin Baxter