And I was like baby, baby, baby, ohhh, please don’t deport me!

Because of the singer’s recent run-ins with the law, some Americans are calling for the deportation of Canadian singer Justin Bieber.

Bieber Photo by: Kevin Aranibar

What do eggs being thrown on houses, drag racing in Miami, DUIs, and being yelled at by Keyshawn Johnson all have in common? Justin Bieber.  It is “the Biebs’s” latest run in with the law, however, that has the Internet buzzing and people petitioning for him to be deported back to Canada.  The petition, which was created on January 23, 2014, has over 250,000 signatures as of February 15, 2014.  It claims that Bieber is threatening the safety of the American people and is a terrible influence on the nation’s youth.  In fact, on February 4, 2014, Virginia Senator Mark Warner tweeted that he is “…not a #Belieber”, and would sign the petition to deport the pop star.

The White House has said it will respond shortly, as it is required to do when any petition gains more than 100,000 signatures.  While many would be singing praises for Bieber to be sent packing up North, it is unlikely that this will occur.

Bieber qualifies as having “an extraordinary ability” in his field.
Justin Bieber mugshot

Justin Bieber mugshot

Justin Bieber is in the United States because of what is termed as “an extraordinary ability in the sciences, arts, education, business, or athletics.”  According to U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services, individuals of extraordinary ability generally are considered to be the best in their particular field.  In the arts, the person’s “extraordinary ability” means an ability of distinction, defined as a “high level of achievement in the field of the arts evidenced by a degree of skill and recognition substantially above that ordinarily encountered to the extent that a person described as prominent is renowned, leading, or well-known in the field of arts.”

Furthermore, evidentiary criteria exist to qualify for the 01-B visa.  This evidence includes being nominated or receiving significant awards, performing at distinguished events, achieving national recognition, or even a receiving high salary in comparison to others in the field.  It is clear from these criteria that Bieber, as well as many other celebrities, would qualify for the Visa, as he is an individual who arguably has an extraordinary ability in the field of signing and dancing.  Additionally, he has been nominated for and has won significant awards, performed at major events, receives a high salary in comparison to the rest of the music industry, and most certainly has national recognition.

The O-1 Visa was first introduced in 1990, when lawmakers separated those skilled immigrants who work for companies in the U.S. from those who have a unique ability that makes them the best in their particular field.  The U.S. State Department awarded 10,590 O-1 Visas in 2012, which included people such as NBA players, authors, pianists, and members of Broadway.  The continental breakdown for the 10,590 O-1 Visas includes 166 in Africa, 1703 in Asia, 6,408 in Europe, 509 in North America, 724 in Oceania, 1,079 in South America, and 1 unknown.  O-1 Visas are valid for three years, and an individual can apply for extensions in one-year increments.

Deportations occur in a few select circumstances.

The question on everyone’s mind seems to be, will Justin Bieber be deported back to Canada? According to the Justice Department, an order for deportation can be requested if an individual is sentenced for one or more of the following: Crime of Moral Turpitude, Multiple Criminal Convictions, and Aggravated Felonies.

Department of State Seal

Department of State Seal

A crime of moral turpitude must have been committed within five years after the date of entry into the United States, and the person must be sentenced to imprisonment or confined for one year or longer.  For multiple criminal convictions, the date of entry becomes irrelevant, and if convicted of two or more crimes involving moral turpitude one is deportable.  Finally, one can be deported for being convicted of an aggravated felony,  defined in 8 U.S.C.  § 1101(a)(43), and including crimes such as trafficking or murder.

A crime involving moral turpitude is one courts have had difficulty defining precisely.  In fact, it was challenged as being unconstitutionally vague in Chu v. Cornell, but that challenge was ultimately rejected.  Generally, the presence or absence of moral turpitude is determined by the elements of the offense for which an alien is convicted.  According to the U.S. Department of State, the most common crimes involving moral turpitude are those involving fraud, larceny, and intent to harm a person or thing.

Luckily for Bieber, damaging private property is not listed as one of the crimes against property that falls within the definition of moral turpitude, nor does drunk or reckless driving.  That does not, however, completely exonerate Bieber.  If he is charged with or convicted of any drug offenses, he could become eligible for deportation because federal law dictates that violent crimes and sentences longer than one year are what cause the government to re-evaluate one’s visa status.  Beiber admitted to officers at his most recent arrest in Miami that he had been smoking marijuana.

In conclusion, while it is unlikely that Justin Bieber will be required to leave America any time soon, one can “Never Say Never.”


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About Dana Rybak, Staff Writer (5 Articles)
Dana Rybak served as a Staff Writer for the Campbell Law Observer. She is originally from Independence, Ohio, a suburb outside of Cleveland. Dana graduated from Bowling Green State University in 2011 with a Bachelor of Science in Business Administration. In addition to being a Staff Writer, she was the President of the Old Kivett Advocacy Council, a 3L representative for the Student Bar Association, and a member of the Campbell Law Innocence Project. Prior to her graduation from Campbell Law School in May 2014, Dana interned in the United States Senate for Senator Sherrod Brown, in the Cuyahoga County Domestic Relations Court, and with The Sparrow Law Firm, a criminal defense firm in Raleigh, NC.
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