According to recent reports, Justin Bieber faces charges of DUI, drag-racing, and resisting arrest stemming from an encounter with police in Miami, Florida last night that resulted in his arrest. The arrest reportedly took place after a day of partying that included Bieber’s admitted consumption of alcohol, marijuana, and prescription drugs. Just last week, Bieber was involved in an alleged egging incident that resulted in police executing a warrant on Bieber’s home that uncovered evidence of widespread drug use. Charges have not yet been brought in that case.
While people realize that recent events could affect Bieber’s physical freedom if he is convicted of a crime, and his overall popularity, many people (including possibly Bieber himself) overlook the affect these events could have on Bieber’s ability to live in or travel to the United States.
Though I have no personal knowledge of Bieber’s immigration status, I understand from reports that he is in the United States on an “O” visa. The “O” is a visa designated for people who have extraordinary ability in arts, science, athletics, or business which can be demonstrated by sustained national or international acclaim. Presumably Bieber is in the United States based on his extraordinary ability in the arts. In a nutshell this means is that Bieber is not a lawful permanent resident or citizen of the United States. Instead he is here on a visa that allows him to work and live in this country for a set time, essentially as a guest. As with any guest, Bieber is not “entitled” to live and work in the United States but does so at the discretion of the government.
Given Bieber’s guest status in the United States, he potentially faces several immigration problems that could result in his being forced to depart from and never return to the United States:
1) The government has wide discretion to revoke or deny Bieber’s visa, regardless of whether he is ultimately convicted of any crimes. In this case, a government official could take one look at Bieber’s documented drug use, recent arrest record and reports and simply determine that as a matter of discretion, they are not going to allow him entry into the U.S. This could happen any time he tries to reenter the U.S. after a trip, or when he applies to renew his visa.
2) Bieber could conceivably be removed from the U.S. as a person who is a drug addict or abuser if the government chooses to bring a case against him. Drug abuse or addiction is a ground of deportation for a person in the U.S. with a visa or other type of status. I have no personal knowledge of Bieber’s drug use, but according to reports, his use of drugs has been documented. This particular issue could get very interesting if he enters rehab as his friends are purportedly trying to get him to do, as this might be seen as a sign of concession that he in fact is a drug addict.
3) If Bieber is ultimately convicted of a crime in the egging incident, that may open the door to an entire other ground of deportation.
Bieber better beware (try saying that three times fast) because his O visa status in the U.S. has him on unsettled ground and at risk of removal. The next few months should be very interesting. Given Bieber’s apparent downward spiral, I’m going to hedge my bets and start working on the lyrics to a son titled “Bye Bye Bieber.” I think Selena Gomez might be interested in purchasing the rights.