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Justin Bieber deportation to Canada likely, U.S. lawyer predicts

Mugshot of Canadian pop star Justin Bieber. - Miami Beach Police
Mugshot of Canadian pop star Justin Bieber.
— image credit: Miami Beach Police

Justin Bieber may need his snow boots again soon.

The pop star's arrest in Miami Beach should almost certainly result in him being deported back to Canada, according to a Blaine lawyer who often defends B.C. residents who run afoul of U.S. law.

Len Saunders said Bieber could easily be booted out of the U.S. and barred from re-entry because of statements he made to police – regardless of the outcome of any criminal proceedings.

Bieber, already in trouble over a case of vandalism involving his California neighbours, was arrested early Thursday in a yellow Lambourghini that police said was racing another car. He was charged with driving under the influence and resisting arrest.

That might sound problematic enough, but Bieber also allegedly told police he had smoked some marijuana.

Saunders noted plenty of Metro Vancouver residents have found out the hard way that they can be banned from the U.S. for admitting past pot use because it's a crime of "moral turpitude."

But worse yet, the police affidavit lists Bieber as having U.S. citizenship – which Saunders strongly suspects is wrong.

If Bieber falsely claimed U.S. citizenship, he said, that's the "ultimate sin" against U.S. immigration rules that can result in deportation and a lifetime ban on entry.

"If this guy was my client, I'd be just crapping my pants right now," Saunders said. "It's an absolute train wreck."

The impaired driving charge is not an issue in getting through the U.S. border, Saunders said, noting former premier Gordon Campbell's drunk driving conviction in Hawaii was mainly an "embarrassment."

There's a remote chance Bieber has U.S. citizenship, but Saunders figures that for that to happen he would have had to have applied for it in the last year and a half after turning 18, and he would have had to have held a green card for the previous five years, meaning he applied when he was 12.

All that's highly unlikely, he said, since Bieber has visited Cuba, off limits to U.S. citizens.

If celebrities in fact get treated differently, Saunders says that's unfair – noting the case of White Rock university student Jessica Goldstein, who was barred from entering the U.S. last summer when she admitted prior pot use to U.S. border agents.

"You can't have a double standard," he said. "You can't have Justin Trudeau, Rob Ford and Justin Bieber admitting to drug use and not having immigration consequences.

"Meanwhile, you've got your average Canadian like Jessica Goldstein applying for a waiver. It's the same situation. The only difference is she isn't a high-profile Canadian."

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