Unless you’ve been living under a rock, chances are good you’ve heard a thing or two about Justin Bieber in the news. (If you haven’t, I am a little bit jealous.) Following the Bieb’s recent antics including allegedly egging his neighbor’s home, drunk driving and resisting arrest, and allegedly assaulting a limo driver, America seems to be over the Canadian pop prince.
In an effort to embrace our changing times, the White House has engineered an innovative new tool for the American public to reach the president and guarantee a response from the Oval Office through their WhiteHouse.gov petition site. For a petition to receive a decision, it must receive at least 100,000 signatures. At publication time, more than 200,000 Americans have signified that they want Justin Bieber deported.
Now, all we have to do is wait for the response.
Immigration lawyers around the country have been clear that the likelihood of Bieber being deported is about as likely as landing a drink date with the hottie who lives down the hall. But still, ever-intrepid Americans have hope.
You see, section 237 of the Immigration and Nationality Act defines the crimes that make a person deportable. Some that our little star can relate to include: illegal possession of drugs, driving while intoxicated, and aggravated felony. The Immigration Policy Center reports that 10% of the people deported each year are legal permanent resident. Of those, 68% have committed nonviolent minor crimes.
Although Beliebers everywhere are more than confident that he will be remaining on American soil, many have been quick to point out the discrepancy between Justin and the millions of other non-citizen immigrants who are legally within the US.
Special treatment for famous celebrities? In America?! As shocking as it may be, it is quite clear that another immigrant in his position would face a terrifying alternative to the treatment that the “Baby baby baby” star has faced.
I love celebrity culture and am as guilty as the next millennial who can’t help but to check Perez Hilton or other celebrity gossip sites several times a day. Although it’s enjoyable to obsess over the latest fashion trends or which celebrity is trying the rehab program of the month, our society has given free passes to celebrities time and time again. For a nation that prides itself on law and order it’s a sad state of affairs when the number of albums you’ve sold or how many Oscars you’ve won determines the way in which police and the justice system treat you.
Celebrities exist, like it or not, as role models for millions of American youth. When Kanye West can cause over $10,000 in damage and assault and walk away scot free, Reese Witherspoon resists arrest and pleads no contest to a DUI and gets a measly $200 fine, and when Paris Hilton clearly received special treatment during her brief stint in jail, it becomes clear that having celebrity status amounts almost to a “Get Out of Jail Free Card”. There are literally hundreds of examples which prove that all you need is an Olivia Pope on your side to skirt jail time.
Although the LAPD has gone on record saying “From a law enforcement perspective, we treat everyone the same,” countless examples have proven that with the right publicist and PR team, any legal issue can be glossed over and pushed aside. In fact, Harvard Law Professor Alan Deshowitz has publicly declared that celebrities do receive special treatment. He notes, “every celebrity case I’ve been involved in – I’ve been involved in a great many – the one thing you can be sure of is they don’t get the same justice as everybody else.”
There is often very little public outcry or demands for equal treatment which is why the WhiteHouse.gov petition is so interesting. Hundreds of thousands of Americans are calling for equal treatment under the law – a novel concept for our Hollywood elite.
Although Biebs will undoubtedly continue to dominate the airwaves and capture the hearts of American tweens, his recent exploits with the law have provided some meaningful discussion about the state of immigration affairs within the US. It may just be the first productive thing that Bieber has contributed to American society.
We have no idea when the White House will make a formal statement regarding the deportation of Bieber. One can only hope that Jay Carney will bust out his rendition of “One Less Lonely Girl” before announcing to the world that, once again, celebrity status overrules a majority of illegal actions within our great country.