x Abu Dhabi, UAESunday 23 July 2017

Justin Bieber risks deportation from the US

The 19-year-old Canadian pop star's recent run-ins with the law could potentially get him kicked out of the US, say immigration lawyers.

Justin Bieber has been charged with driving under the influence in Miami Beach, Florida. AFP / Miami-Dade Police Department
Justin Bieber has been charged with driving under the influence in Miami Beach, Florida. AFP / Miami-Dade Police Department

Justin Bieber’s run-ins with the law could potentially get him kicked out of the US, the nation where the Canadian teen idol has struck it rich, immigration lawyers said on Friday.

Bieber, 19, kept a low profile a day after he was charged with driving under the influence after police caught him drag racing in Miami Beach, Florida, allegedly after drinking and smoking illegal ­substances,

On Twitter, Bieber kept an uncharacteristic silence, leaving his 49 million followers to rally behind him with the trending hashtag #WeWill­AlwaysSupportYouJustin.

Instead, Bieber let a picture tell 1,000 words, with an Instagram of himself in a dark hoodie, waving outside jail, alongside an image of Michael Jackson a decade ago when the King of Pop was fighting child molestation charges.

“What more can they say,” read the caption.

Besides the DUI charge, Bieber – released on a US$2,500 (Dh9,175) bond – also faces charges of resisting arrest and driving with an expired Georgia state license behind the wheel of a yellow Lamborghini sports car.

He was already under investigation for allegedly hurling eggs at a neighbour’s house in Los Angeles – an incident that led police to search his mansion, where they seized ­illicit drugs and arrested one of his associates.

By Saturday morning, more than 14,000 people had signed an online petition on the official White House website calling for Bieber’s ­deportation.

“He is not only threatening the safety of our people, but he is also a terrible influence on our nation’s youth,” said the petition, which needs 100,000 signatures by February 22 to elicit a White House ­response.

Like many non-American entertainers, Bieber lives and works in the US under a so-called O-1 visa, according to The Hollywood ­Reporter.

The immigration lawyer Stacy Tolchin, quoted in the Los Angeles Times newspaper, said Bieber’s alleged offences in Miami Beach, while “not good”, were unlikely to add up to a violation of his O-1 status.

But Tolchin added: “Let’s say if it’s assault, a felony assault, and he’s convicted, that’s a big problem. He really needs to get excellent criminal defence and an excellent immigration attorney.”

artslife@thenational.ae