Contributed by Aaron Hall, Senior Attorney
Justin Bieber, a Canadian citizen, is in trouble with the law here in the U.S. for the second time this month. First, officials in California searched his home in an investigation into $20,000 of damage to a neighbor’s home done with eggs (that is either a lot of eggs or a really fragile home).
Now, in Florida, Bieber was arrested and charged with drunk driving, resisting arrest, and driving without a valid license after police officers found him drag racing on the streets of Miami at 4 a.m. Bieber also reportedly admitted to drug use that night in statements to police.
Bieber is currently in the United States on a nonimmigrant O-1 visa. Speculation has started in the media about whether the criminal charges case could lead to his deportation. In fact, a petition is being circulated for submission to the White House requesting that he be deported for “threatening the safety of our people” and being “a terrible influence on our nation’s youth.” If the petition receives over 100,000 signatures, the White House will offer an official response.
The government could charge Bieber with being deportable for having committed a crime involving moral turpitude for a conviction for resisting arrest depending on what he is sentenced to and what the maximum sentence is. If he were convicted of a drug offense, the chances of becoming deportable would be even greater. Even if he is not put into deportation proceedings, any convictions and his confessions to illegal drug use will be taken into account when immigration officials make decisions on future applications for visas and other immigration benefits. If Bieber thinks his celebrity status guarantees that immigration officials will let him slide, he would do well to read up on the late Amy Winehouse’s experience with U.S. immigration officials. Winehouse was denied a visa to enter the U.S. to perform at the Grammy awards after being questioned about drug abuse. Bieber could be headed for a similar fate if he continues on the current path.
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