Deport-Bieber petition reaches threshold for White House response

Thu Jan 30, 2014 2:54am IST

Canadian pop singer Justin Bieber gestures at a beach as he takes a break in a resort in Punta Chame, on the outskirts of Panama City January 27, 2014. REUTERS/Carlos Jasso

Canadian pop singer Justin Bieber gestures at a beach as he takes a break in a resort in Punta Chame, on the outskirts of Panama City January 27, 2014.

Credit: Reuters/Carlos Jasso

REUTERS - A petition asking the Obama administration to deport Canadian pop star Justin Bieber after his arrest last week on a drunken driving charge, on Wednesday passed the 100,000-signature mark needed to require a White House response.

The petition so far has collected about 118,000 signatures since being added by user "J.A. from Detroit" to the White House website on January 23, the same day Bieber was caught drag racing on a residential street in Miami Beach in a rented Lamborghini.

However, it is highly unlikely that Bieber, 19, would be deported, as federal law dictates that a visa could be revoked or denied for a conviction of a violent crime with a one year, or longer, prison sentence.

Bieber told police after his arrest that he had taken prescription medicine, had been smoking marijuana and had consumed alcohol. If convicted, he could face up to six months in jail, although experts say he will likely get off with a lighter sentence for his first offence.

A spokesman for the singer declined to comment on the petition or say which kind of visa Bieber holds to reside in the United States. He is likely to have an O-1 visa reserved for artists and entertainers.

The singer was also charged with driving on an expired license and resisting arrest without violence. He is scheduled to be arraigned in Miami on February 14.

Bieber's life off-stage has been rocky in the last year with problems ranging from scuffling with paparazzi in London to a felony investigation into whether he pelted a neighbor's house with eggs in his gated community near Los Angeles.

It is not known exactly when the White House will respond to the petition.

The petition system was launched in 2011, and has forced the White House to respond to odd topics such as building a "death star" from the "Star Wars" films as a way to create jobs and deporting British TV personality Piers Morgan over pro-gun control comments after the 2012's Newtown shooting.

(Reporting by Eric Kelsey in Los Angeles; Editing by Piya Sinha-Roy and Gunna Dickson)

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