Justin Bieber faces an ever increasing number of legal problems, and now a petition demanding his deportation demands a response from the Obama Administration. The petition was filed on the official White House website last week after the pop star’s most recent troubles began. The Obama Administration has a standing rule requiring an official response to any petition that reaches 100,000 signatures. The petition had already accumulated 150,000 signatures at the time this story was filed. Those interested in seeing Bieber leave the country have until February 22 to add their names to the petition.
Bieber, a Canadian citizen, could technically be subject to deportation should the government choose to revoke his visa. He is in the United States under an O-1B visa, which according to the website for U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (UCIS), is for “individuals with extraordinary ability” and is valid for a period up to three years. UCIS could certainly choose to review his status in light of his recent legal problems and revoke his visa. The chances of this actually taking place however, are quite remote.
While the Obama Administration does state that it will reply to all petitions that reach 100,000 signatures, the response sometimes takes months or even years to occur. One such petition involved a request to take Jimmy Kimmel Live off the air. The official response came three months after the threshold was reached, and the White House stated that they could not infringe on free speech and force the show off the air. Other petitions have taken up to two years to receive a response from the Obama Administration. While this petition involving the pop star does demand a response from Obama, it may be a long time coming.
The U.S. State Department however has issued a statement saying that it would look into what would be necessary to revoke Bieber’s visa. This does not constitute an official response as the White House itself declined to comment on the status of the petition. The petition is gaining signatures at a rate that rivals any that have been placed on the White House website to date and it may accumulate the most ever. Currently that position is held by a 2012 petition asking the government to declare the Westboro Baptist Church a “hate group.”
Justin Bieber is hardly the first pop star or celebrity to be the target of such petitions, nor would this petition even qualify as the most fanciful. That title would have to belong to a petition that the U.S. government build a “Death Star.” Should the White House choose to respond promptly, it is doubtful that it would be the response that the petitioners are hoping for. With all the many thousands of immigration cases currently pending across the country, though, it would be ironic if the government would choose to expend the effort on Mr. Bieber.
All is not lost for the “Beliebers” however. A counter petition calling his deportation “completely unfair” has also been filed on the White House website. It has accumulated 1,500 signatures so far. The Obama Administration may have to respond to the petition demanding Justin Bieber’s deportation, but it is unlikely to happen soon.
By Christopher V. Spencer