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Justin Bieber arrest opens door to deportation debate

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Deportations have been in the news a lot lately as immigration reform appears to have stalled for the time being. However, the high profile arrest of Canadian pop star Justin Bieber has elevated the debate about deportation in the news. Bieber was arrested for DUI after allegedly admitting to drinking, smoking marijuana and using prescription drugs when being questioned by police for drag racing. Any Maryland immigrant or family member who has been arrested for a crime and wants to know how an arrest may affect any move toward deportation may be interested in how the Bieber case plays out.

As it stands now, a non-citizen can face deportation if arrested and convicted of a number of different crimes. Some of the offenses that can result in deportation include aggravated felony, domestic violence, weapons charges and drug charges. However, crimes that are categorized as "moral turpitude" also count. "Moral turpitude" is both broad and debatable and can vary in its application from state to state.

The laws that affect deportation can be also change over time. This means an immigrant may have pleaded guilty to a charge years ago that did not result in deportation, only to find now that the past conviction does meet the criteria for an offense deemed worthy of deportation. As it stands now, the DUI arrest of Justin Bieber does not warrant deporting him; however, a purported incident involving egg throwing in California could be considered a felony because of the monetary damage claimed.

While authorities work to outline each and every law clearly so there is no room for misinterpretation, that can be difficult with changing deportation laws in the country. Any Maryland immigrant may benefit from following cases in the news and keeping updated about current laws and regulations. Knowing what offenses can be used to deport a family member may be essential when a non-citizen is facing any kind of charges. Those individuals already facing deportation issues may gain by seeking appropriate assistance to try to minimize the effect of any prior criminal conviction.

Source: US News and World Report, Will Justin Bieber Be Deported for His Miami DUI?, Tierney Sneed, Jan. 23, 2014

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