Last week we all got another reminder why immigrants should behave themselves while in the US. I know you might have heard about it: Justin Bieber caused more than $200,000 in damage to a neighbor’s home and according to news reports was caught racing his car and high on who knows what. I want to make it very clear that a person is always presumed innocent until proven guilty. However, one dimension of the story is shedding some light on immigration reform: The Bieb‘s immigration status.
A recent CNN story tackled the question of whether Bieber could be deported. The story discussed the question exhaustively. However, when it came to the question of double-standard, the story compared his case with the stories of thousands of illegal immigrants who get into removal proceedings for lesser offenses. The article credited the difference to the fact that these immigrants have no legal status while Bieber does. This alleged difference is simply untrue.
I once represented a client who was a legal permanent resident and charged with burglary even though he did not enter the victim’s home. The problem was that Florida has an expanded definition of burglary which criminalizes entering someone’s lawn without permission (if you had the intent to commit a felony within). Adding to it was the fact that the court appointed “translator” told him to plead guilty, on the record. The man never got bail, was ordered removed (unjustly) and he did not see the light of day until the State reduced his charge after the judge granted a post-conviction motion. This is after I fought very hard trying to convince the immigration judge (based on long established law) that Florida’s statute was too broad.
I mentioned this story because there is a double standard in our system that favors the rich, and it is not only in immigration law. I know that if it were one of my clients, they would not get this treatment. I think that this young man needs serious intervention.
Please let me know what you think about this story or the blog. Thank you.