Could Justin Bieber Be Deported?

Celebrity, Immigration, News

The 19-year-old Canadian pop star Justin Bieber may soon become one of the highest-profile immigrants to ever get kicked out of the U.S. if he isn’t careful.

After being caught drag racing (going about 55 in a 30-mph zone) along Miami Beach, Bieber was arrested for 1) driving with an invalid Georgia license, 2) resisting arrest without violence (when the officer tried to arrest Bieber, he resisted, pulling his arm away, the arrest report said), and 3) driving under the influence (Bieber cannot legally drink, being 19 years of age). Bieber also reportedly admitted to smoking marijuana, taking prescription medication, and drinking. No drug charges were filed — yet.

Obviously this could be the last straw that unravels Justin’s quickly-unraveling reputation, but that’s probably the least of the Canadian pop star’s problems. The star was already under investigation on suspicion of egging his neighbor’s house in Calabasas earlier in January. Now out on bond, Bieber could be deported as an example for other foreign troublemakers.

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If only convicted of one offense, and if the maximum penalty is six months in jail, Bieber might qualify for an exception under immigration laws. Facing all three charges for which he was arrested, however, he could easily face deportation.

Bieber is currently in the U.S. on an O-1 visa, which is obtained by those with “extraordinary ability in the sciences, arts, education, business or athletics,” according to U.S. visa policy. Bieber’s being in the U.S. temporarily is a privilege — not a right –and immigration authorities have an incentive to go after the entertainer to set an example for others.

A nonpermanent resident can get kicked out of the U.S. if found guilty of a felony capable of bringing a sentence longer than a year in prison; even if someone is sentenced to less than a year in prison on such a charge, they could still be deported. If charges are pressed for drugs, deportation is likely; a provision in U.S. immigration law states that, “Any alien who is, or at any time after admission has been, a drug abuser or addict is deportable.”

Moral Turpitude

At the end of the day, a great deal of things can get a foreigner kicked out of the U.S.; even a misdemeanor can be considered a vile act, resulting in deportation on grounds of “moral turpitude.” Crimes involving reckless conduct due to intoxication certainly fall into this category, although there aren’t too many crimes that might not.

Right now Bieber isn’t facing anything unless he is convicted; however, the arrest is likely to make his U.S. life more difficult even if the charges are dropped. In the future, any time he tries to enter the country or renew his visa, it’s going to be a slow process because of the arrest red flag. Although Bieber has claimed to have no interest in becoming a U.S. citizen, he will now face some moral-conduct-related obstacles should he change his mind.