Why Beliebers Should Care About Immigration Reform

Update (01/23/2014): What Justin Bieber's Arrest Would Mean for Another Non-Citizen

As you may have heard, Justin Bieber is being investigated for egging his neighbor's home in Los Angeles. If the damage is found to be $400 or more, Bieber could be charged with felony vandalism under California law. A wrinkle that makes this different than the average pop star-in-peril situation is that because Bieber isn't a United States citizen, if he is convicted of a felony he could potentially be deported back to his native Canada. This potential loss to America is because under U.S. law, an aggravated felony or crimes of "moral turpitude" by non-citizens leads to mandatory detention and ineligibility for almost all relief.

While we at the ACLU aren't hardcore Beliebers (we're more Team Macklemore), we are watching with interest to see issues Bieber's situation will shine on the United States' dysfunctional immigration enforcement system, which doesn't offer due process to those caught up in its web.

Justin Bieber is not a typical case, and even under the Obama administration, it is unlikely he will be deported. To start with, as the USA Today noted, "Bieber is a rich and famous foreigner and they generally tend to have good lawyers."

Being able to afford counsel is essential in the immigration system. Unlike in criminal court, where the right to counsel is guaranteed to everyone regardless of their ability to pay, that is not true in immigration court, and 84 percent of people in immigration detention do not have any lawyer. And unlike Bieber, most come from countries where English is not the native language, making navigating the system without an attorney even more treacherous.

Bieber is also fortunate that he lives in California. Because of an ACLU victory in Rodriguez v. Robbins, immigration detainees are required to receive a bond hearing within six months of being locked up. This ruling applies to 25 percent of the country, including California, but the Obama administration has refused to implement it nationwide.

This lack of due process applies to all immigrants - regardless of their immigration status. So while Justin Bieber will probably be safe, we hope that he and his fans take this as an opportunity to learn about the millions of immigrants who do not have his resources, and support comprehensive immigration reform to repair our broken immigration system.

Learn more about immigration reform and other civil liberty issues: Sign up for breaking news alertsfollow us on Twitter, and like us on Facebook.

Add a comment (11)
Read the Terms of Use

Vicki B.

LOSS! More like a good the hell RIDDANCE.

He gets on my nerves anyway, and I'm sure his money will pull him from the well of stupidity that he's always choosing to fall into.

Vicki B.

It'll offer it to HIM. He'll throw his goddam money at it, hire a high-priced SHARK of an "attorney" and get exactly what he wants.
I'm sorry but I lived in California and I met the type of attorneys who work for famous people. One of them was, in my not so humble opinion, comPLETELY inappropriate when he presented his case. He came right out and accused the other side of being a wanton whore and liar whose focus was to take money from this "poor" filthy rich celebrity and make his life "miserable."
As if you COULD make the life of an ultrawealthy celebrity "miserable."
But I thought this attorney should have been disbarred for his disgusting behavior in the court room, just like I thought the jackass attorney in the George Zimmerman trial should have been thrown off the case or thrown out of the court room.
I would freakin' refuse to even TALK to a bastard like THAT guy was. There's no way I'm answering questions for someone who makes those horrendous remarks about MY loved one.
I wonder how some attorneys feel safe going out to their cars. The way SOME of them act, they seem to believe they're "little tin gods on the mountainside."

Johnny Canuck

Please do not deport Justin Bieber. Canada would rather he does not come back.

Vicki B.

I don't agree with that phrase "even under the Obama Administration." Even after following the link to where it said more about what the statement meant, I still have a hard time believing he's deporting people b/c he just doesn't like immigrants.
My friend, Lauren, was killed at Sandy Hook Elementary School and her family actually met President Obama in person. They all said he was a nice person, a CARING person. Well, everyone except her mom who was almost literally ripped apart after hearing about her daughter being killed with a military-style weapon. She took almost 3 whole months before she could even accept that her daughter was never coming back. She had a major issue with the fact that so many members of their family had gone to Iraq, Afghanistan and even Desert Storm, had placed themselves directly into the path of danger and had all returned home safely. But Lauren goes off to teach school and gets her head blown off.

I think her mom didn't see the president when he came or had no comment about his visit, maybe barely registered his presence. Lauren's brothers OTOH had pictures taken of themselves with President Obama and went around showing the photos to everyone within a 50-mi radius. They're Republican too. Lauren told me those two brothers were Republican.

Because almost every family victimized by the tragedy said they felt comforted by the president's visit, I assumed he's like they said and have trouble picturing him approving of deporting people. Anyway, he was the same way at a September 11 event in which he talked to the families of victims.

This is why I find it hard to believe he's a harsh with immigrant consequences. Well, anyway, the idea is inconsistent with my own observations of who he is.

Anonymous

won't the just be to bad that someone like Justin Bieber gets sent back home. Maybe his mother should have taught he to be a little more of a human being instead of some kind of animal.

Anonymous

Justin Bieber is a good Singer I like his music it would be better that he stay out of trouble because he could one day might not be so lucky by loosing his career and fame its to bad if all this is true. His Fan club look up to him he might loose some of that fan club yes money can buy every thing but not so if it put you jail time, drug abuse and could end up being hook on drugs it happen to the best of fame so many entertainer ruin there lifes because of this. Money will not keep you out of Happiness all the things he owns yes he works hard for it but I see his cars his home he should thank God that God gave him that voice he has. He should settled down and stay out of trouble and his career can sky rockit not that it all ready have.

Anonymous

Why the hell should our system offer 'due process' to non-citizens? That's a constitutional right of CITIZENSHIP.

Anonymous

I don't feel for the poor 'millions of immigrants' who are brought into the court system after committing a crime. I do feel for those wrongly accused,and the fact that the system is stacked against them. However, those who commit a crime deserve their just punishment.
Egging a house and drag racing? Although illegal both, sounds like typical teenager stuff to me. Hopefully his fame, Foreign citizenship and the double standard of the law act in loco parentis for this kid.

Anonymous

Spoiled teen with nomguidance from parents..go back to Canada and be a nuisance there!

Anonymous

You guys should be more team Belafonte. At least he has all kinds of great songs with the added bonus that he distressed the Koch brothers when he compared them with the KKK.
He made them so upset they got their people to respond for them (b/c I guess rich people are too LAZY to answer for themSELVES) and say the Kochs "are nothing like the KKK."
Then all these abysmally stupid people went to Harry Belafonte's FB page and started sticking up for the Koch brothers. Which, besides being utterly amusing entertainment, compelled me to respond and ask them if they REALLY think the Koch brothers "actually care" about them so why are they defending the idiots.
I have no idea what they said. I usually make my comments and disappear - unless the person posting displays pervert behavior. Then I block them and never see their words again.

Pages

Sign Up for Breaking News