It’s tough to be a Belieber these days. Over the past few weeks, Justin Bieber has gotten himself into one sticky situation after another with the law — from possible vandalism in L.A., to DUI charges in Miami Beach. And just this week, he added yet another potential hit on his rap sheet: assault charges in Toronto. Will it ever end?
Amidst the melee, a group of more than 100K people (including ex-Nickelodeon star, Drake Bell) signed a petition to have the troubled 19-year-old deported back to his native Canada — which apparently requires the White House to respond.
But is the Biebs really in danger of being evicted from the U.S.? Wetpaint Entertainment spoke exclusively with immigration attorney Harlan York to find out kind of impact potential convictions might have on the pop star’s immigration status.
For one thing, all of this talk of deportation is very premature, says Harlan. In regards to his Canadian charges, they could have an impact on his residency in the U.S., but it’s unlikely.
“Foreign convictions can absolutely have an impact on somebody’s immigration status,” he begins, adding, “That said, if it was a low-level offense such as a simple assault, I don’t know if it would make much of an impact.”
Worst case scenario, prominent personalities like Justin (and other performers, entertainers, etc.) will often take advantage of a specific waiver in the Immigration Act that allows them to re-enter the country, despite legal violations.
And his Miami Beach DUI arrest? That’s a non-factor.
“About a decade ago, the Supreme Court ruled that driving under the influence, typically, is not a basis to deport someone,” he details. “Neither are the related charges, such as excessive speed or driving without a license. Driving offenses, as a rule, do not.”
The only way this can change is if these driving offenses resulted in a serious injury, which, luckily, didn’t happen in this case.
But Bieber isn’t fully in the clear — he will need to watch out for any drug convictions.
“Whenever you get into an area where drugs are involved, this is where it becomes very dangerous,” Harlan states. “The immigration laws are much stricter when in it comes to the treatment of any non-U.S. citizen who may have involvement with drugs. However, due to the ambiguous reports of what he may or may not have done so far, I think it’s premature to say.”
Don’t expect the White House’s “required” response to that petition to be much of anything, either.
“Do I think that the White House is going to come out on it? I highly doubt it," he says. "I think the president of the U.S. is obviously far more concerned with other things … Most likely they’ll simply say something to the effect of ‘we’ll let the court system sort it out.’”
Did you think Justin was actually in danger of being deported? Tell us your thoughts on the situation in the comments below.