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Hundreds of Thousands Deported Every Year for Much Less than Justin Bieber's Offenses

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Launch the petitions–Justin Bieber is apparently in danger of deportation.

The pop star, originally from Canada, is facing felony charges for reportedly egging his neighbor’s mansion and causing $20,000 in damage, which amounts to a felony, which in turn is a deportable offense.  As Colorlines and others have noted, Bieber’s antics are just now catching up with him despite a whole history of incidents, including urinating in public and assaulting a paparazzo.  Colorlines posits that Bieber probably isn’t in much danger of being deported –his lawyers will likely try to get the charges dropped, or lowered down to a misdemeanor.

Of course many immigrants–to the great frustration and despair of family members, friends, and allies–have been deported for much less.  Such is the legacy of the 1996 immigration laws, where even a long-time legal permanent resident can be banished from the U.S. for life after committing (or simply pleading to) a very minor crime.

The “due process” violations in the 1996 immigration laws need a serious overhaul.  While the Senate has acted to at least create an alternative to deportation for certain aspiring Americans, the House has so far failed to do its job.  Meanwhile, the Obama Administration continues to deport immigrants after committing minor infractions (like driving without a license, or a broken taillight), or no criminal violation at all.  As of this writing, we are still waiting to hear the fate of Ricardo Ramos, an Ohio father of three who qualifies for prosecutorial discretion, but was supposed to be deported today.

For the record, here’s a quick list of immigrants recently deported after an exceedingly minor “infraction,” or none at all:


  • Hilda Villa, deported in 2013 after receiving bad advice from an incompetent attorney




  • Keith Chambers, deported in 2013 after being turned in by a coworker


  • Manuela Guzman, deported in 2013 after angering an immigration official by showing up early to an interview


  • Paz Mendez, deported in 2013 after being detained following a 2011 car accident




  • Joan Munoz, deported in 2013 after a minor traffic violation