Canadian bad boy Bieber risks US deportation
By Robert Macpherson, AFP
January 26, 2014, 12:01 am TWN
WASHINGTON -- Justin Bieber's run-ins with the law could potentially get him kicked out of the United States, the nation where the Canadian-born teen idol struck it rich, immigration lawyers said Friday.
Bieber, 19, kept a low profile a day after he was charged with driving under the influence after police caught him drag racing in Miami Beach, Florida, allegedly after drinking and smoking marijuana.
On Twitter, the voice behind hits "Baby" and "Boyfriend" kept an uncharacteristic silence, leaving his 49 million followers to rally behind him with the trending hashtag #WeWillAlwaysSupportYouJustin.
Instead, Bieber let a picture tell 1,000 words with an Instagram of himself in a dark hoodie, waving outside jail, alongside an image of Michael Jackson a decade ago when the King of Pop was fighting child molestation charges.
"What more can they say," read the caption.
Besides the DUI charge, Bieber — released on a US$2,500 bond — also faces charges of resisting arrest and driving with an expired Georgia state license behind the wheel of a yellow Lamborghini sports car.
He was already under investigation for allegedly hurling eggs at a neighbor's house in Los Angeles — an incident that led police to search his mansion, where they seized illicit drugs and arrested one of his associates.
By late afternoon Friday, nearly 8,000 people had signed an online petition on the official White House website calling for Bieber's deportation.
"He is not only threatening the safety of our people, but he is also a terrible influence on our nation's youth," said the petition, which needs 100,000 signatures by Feb. 22 to elicit a White House response.
Like many non-American entertainers, Bieber — who, says Forbes magazine, made US$58 million in 2013 — lives and works in the United States under a so-called O-1 visa, according to the Hollywood Reporter, a showbiz trade journal.
"To qualify for an O-1 visa, the beneficiary must demonstrate extraordinary ability by sustained national or international acclaim and must be coming temporarily to the United States to continue work in the area of extraordinary ability," says the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services on its website.