If Bieber Were Poor, We'd Deport Him

Sadhbh Walshe on the unfairness of the immigration system

By Kevin Spak,  Newser Staff

Posted Jan 29, 2014 12:02 PM CST

(Newser) – So far more than 100,000 people have petitioned President Obama to deport Canadian problem child Justin Bieber. But even though it makes her "die a little" to write about him, Sadhbh Walshe at the Guardian thinks the petition has it wrong—what they should be asking for is a "fairer justice system where all immigrants are treated equally under the law." Because while Bieber will almost certainly walk, most legal immigrants in the same situation would already be in an immigrant detention cell with deportation looming.

US immigration law mandates detention and deportation for all aggravated felonies, and you'd be surprised "just how many crimes are classified as 'aggravated felonies' when committed by immigrants." There are more than 50 categories, including criminal traffic offenses and disturbing the peace. Bieber needn't fear, of course. He's white, whereas most deportees are Latino, and he has a lawyer, while 84% of deportees don't. Unlike criminal proceedings, the state isn't required to provide immigrants with representation. Changing that "may not satisfy Bieber haters," but would bring something positive out of this farce, writes Walshe. Click for her full column.

In this Sept. 23, 2013, file photo, Justin Bieber performs at a closing concert in Singapore.
In this Sept. 23, 2013, file photo, Justin Bieber performs at a closing concert in Singapore.   (AP Photo/Joseph Nair, File)
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If Bieber's neighbor's mansion had been egged by an aggrieved Mexican gardener, said gardener would not have been free a week later to go drag racing while intoxicated with his hip hop friend in Miami. - Sadhbh Walshe

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