Canadian pop sensation Justin Bieber has recently drawn attention to himself due to an arrest and release in Miami Beach, Fla. While fans pledge their unconditional support, others have created petitions urging the Obama administration to deport Bieber. Still others urge the attention to be shifted from the celebrity to other immigrants who face deportation due to “lesser offences.” In this podcast immigration attorney Paula Joachin who practices law in the city of San Diego, Calif., explains why this celebrity case is an example of what Milli Atkinson of Centro de Ayuda Legal Para Inmigrantes referred to as laws that “are written to really discriminate against Mexico and Central America,” in October of 2013 as a part of The Conversation on Immigration Reform.
On Sunday, January 23, 2014, Canadian pop sensation Justin Bieber was arrested on charges of driving under the influence, resisting arrest without violence and driving with an expired driver’s license in Miami Beach, Fla. Since the day of his arrest, several petitions have been created on the website We the People seeking supporting signatures in a petition to the Obama Administration asking to both deport and protect Bieber from deportation.
One petition in particular seeks to “Deport Justin Bieber and revoke his green card” on the grounds that “he is not only threatening the safety of our people but he is also a terrible influence on our nations youth.” The goal of the petition was to receive 100,000 signatures, as of Wednesday, January 29, 2014; the petition had 170, 973 supporting signatures.
The American Civil Liberties Union has published a brief article titled “What Justin Bieber’s Arrest Would Mean for Another Non-Citizen.” Through this article, they urge readers that “While the media is focused on what will happen to Bieber, let’s instead focus on what will happen to all of the other immigrants who are detained and deported for lesser offenses than his.” According to Joachin during the Obama administration, the amount of immigrants who have been put into detention for being undocumented, without a prior history of violation of laws, “sky rocketed.”
Joachin remains hopeful that a “comprehensive and holistic” immigration reform will pass. “We want the legalization of the people who are already here, whose only offense is a civil one, and that is entering the U.S. without ‘proper documents.’”