Justin Bieber was recently charged with drunk driving and resisting arrest after police caught him street racing in Miami Beach. Justin Bieber told police he had not only consumed alcohol, but had taken prescription medication and smoked marijuana as well. Bieber and a friend were arrested while racing their Lamborghinis in a residential area, where they were going nearly double the speed limit.
Let us combine the story above with the Obama administration policy meant to focus the U.S. Department of Homeland Security on deporting criminals, while dismissing deportations of illegal immigrants who do not pose a threat to public safety. One question arises: Why has the U.S. not deported Justin Bieber? For those of you who do not already know, Justin Bieber is a Canadian citizen.
Since August 2011, the President has targeted criminal non-citizens for deportations, focusing on people who are involved with violence, drugs, or have criminal records. These deportations are carried out through programs like the U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement’s Secure Communities Program. This program uses existing information partnerships between ICE and other law enforcement agencies to pinpoint non-citizens that have a criminal record. The FBI and local law enforcement, for example, automatically checks fingerprints of arrested individuals against DHS immigration databases. If the checks reveal that the individual is removable, ICE can initiate removal proceedings. These proceedings are, of course, at the behest of ICE, which takes into account how significant a threat the individual is to public safety when determining whether to deport the individual or not.
As of July 2012, Obama has deported over one million illegal immigrants. This is significantly more than the deportations reported by Former President Bush under his administration. Unfortunately, some of these deportations have nothing to do with violent crime. Take the “tamale lady”, who was arrested in Sacramento County for trespassing. Why was she trespassing? She was selling tamales in the Walmart parking lot so she could buy food and clothes for her family. After being arrested, she was detained in jail for two weeks.
In a recent report from Berkeley Law School, it was found that the Secure Communities program disproportionately targets Latinos because it requires local law enforcement to submit fingerprints of those arrested that they suspect might be in the United States illegally. Thus, while the tamale lady may get deported for trespassing in a Walmart parking lot, Justin Bieber does not have to worry, despite drinking and driving, street racing, and doing drugs.
While Bieber is on an O-1 Visa, it can be rescinded if certain conditions are met, such as a conviction for violent crime or being sentenced to more than one year imprisonment. His visa may receive tighter scrutiny if he continues to violate U.S. law in the future, so Bieber should consider cleaning up his act.
If you have any questions relating to immigration or immigration law, contact an Illinois immigration attorney today.