Deporting Justin Bieber is a growing question on the lips of many Americans – and most are serious. After Canadian Bieber was arrested in Florida for his driving activity and alleged DUI issue, a petition to have him deported reached the 100,000 threshhold.
Of course Bieber is now in trouble back in Canada where he faces criminal assault for allegedly attacking a limousine driver. That was his second arrest in a week.
Bieber turned himself in to Toronto police on the assault charge, arriving in the evening at a police station to what appeared to be as many fans as the young troubled pop singer might see at one of his concerts.
How serious is the threat of deportation for the popster? How much of a risk does he face? After all immigrants who commit offenses get deported don’t they? Well, not necessarily if they’re rich, famous and well connected.
Forbes contributor Pascal-Emmanuel Gobry, who doesn’t like Bieber, writes that he dislikes Bieber so much he actually wants him sent off.
Of course, the reason why this is funny, and not tragic, is that everyone knows Justin Bieber is not going to get deported. Quick, would you like to bet me he will be?
It’s absurd to even suggest he could be–which, again, is why this petition is funny.
But there’s a problem here. Because, aren’t immigrants who get convicted supposed to get deported? It happens every day. But it happens every day to people who happen to not be rich and famous.
And there lies the rub. The United States is supposed to be “one nation under the law.” Of course, this has always been aspirational–we will never get to a society where everyone is treated absolutely equally under the law (and you could argue that’s a good thing). But there’s nevertheless something stunning about the fact that we’ve basically taken it for granted that there’s a different law for the rich and powerful and for everyone else. Where a senior civil servant can lie to Congress and not fear for his career, let alone his liberty. Where white collar prosecution can be discarded with checks. And so on.
There’s a way in which this is unavoidable: in a legal state where everyone commits three felonies a day, and where if you get prosecuted the government can find a way to make you guilty of something, the criteria used for who gets prosecuted become by definition extralegal. And where law does not reign, raw power does.
Let’s not get too dramatic about this. On a global level, accountability is certainly better in the US than in most other countries, particularly France, where I live. The rich and famous sometimes do get prosecuted (and sometimes are victims of prosecution).
But still, it’s nonetheless always jarring to see how we can basically take it for granted that a different law exists for the rich and the famous and everybody else.