Five Truths about Immigration and Criminalization that are More Important than Bieber
by Isabelle Nastasia and Jenny Marks
Teen pop singer Justin Bieber was arrested last week in Florida on charges of drunk driving and resisting arrest. Because he is living in the U.S. on an O-1B Work Visa, many people reacted by demanding that he be deported. Given the American peoples’ affinity for organizing around inconsequential causes, it is no surprise that the “Deport Bieber” White House petition hit 100K signatures this week.
While Bieber’s case has captured public attention, there are a few things that we could be paying attention to instead! In his State of the Union address, President Obama didn’t mention deportations once. He commented vaguely that we need to “get immigration reform done this year,” as he has said every year since he’s been in office. (The not-so-Comprehensive Immigration Reform bill, however, remains nowhere.)
While the White House has been working on “getting it done,” groups like National Immigrant Youth Alliance and United We Dream threw down in 2013, orchestrating multiple border-crossings of undocumented immigrants, blockades of ICE bus routes, and hunger strikes. These forms of direct action escalation are challenging the very existence of ICE, detention centers, and borders.
As a result of the 100K-strong petition calling for Bieber to be be “removed from our society”, the White House is required to make a statement. As the Beliebers wait anxiously for their response, we’d like to put forth five points that are helpful in understanding the limitations of immigration reform:
While I am not a Bieber fan and don’t think anyone, including him should be deported, the bulk of this is spot on.