State Department Doesn’t Know if It Will Deport Justin Bieber

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State Department spokeswoman Jen Psaki could not say Wednesday whether the U.S. will deport Canadian pop star Justin Bieber, as has been petitioned on the White House website with more than 123,000 signatures and counting.

A reporter asked if, were he to be convicted on charges for drunken driving and resisting arrest in Miami, Bieber would have violated his visa and be deported. Psaki replied she’d have to check and see what publicly available information there was on that.

“I think that’s an action that I would point you to the White House on, on what steps they may or may not take,” she said.

Associated Press reporter Matt Lee, a frequent thorn in Psaki’s side, wondered if the State Department would actually be involved in that decision-making:

MATT LEE: Is it actually something that you are involved in the decision-making of? You — would — the Justice Department would be involved in deciding whether it should be revoked and then you would just stamp cancelled or something on it, right? I mean, is the State Department involved in considering deportation cases or is that purely a function of law enforcement?

JEN PSAKI: Well, we’re getting down quite a rabbit hole here with Justin Bieber, but —

LEE: Well, on anyone. I’m just wondering if this is the right place to be asking a question about that because I’m not sure that you guys do —

PSAKI: That is a fair point. I was trying to give a serious answer on — I will check and see what the visa implications would be for anybody who is found of possibly violating the law.

Full exchange:

Q: On Justin Bieber.

PSAKI: Oh. Not what I expected. (Laughter.) A good way to finish the briefing.

Q: Thank you, Jo.

Q: On the White House website, there’s a petition which has passed 100,000 signatures to deport Justin Bieber for his actions, for illegal drag racing in Miami and so on and so forth. My question is, would this,  if he’s found guilty, would this actually violate his visa, and could he be deported?

PSAKI: Well, there’s a couple of questions in there. So in the question of, what would violate his visa, I would have — anyone’s visa — I will check and see what is publicly available information on that. I think what you’re referring to is this wonderful program that the White House started that allows people to raise signatures for a variety of issues, whether that’s health care for children or perhaps it can be issues that you just mentioned here today. I think that’s an action that I would point you to the White House on, on what steps they may or may not take. It doesn’t always determine a step will be taken, it’s more of another opportunity for the voices of the American people to be heard.

Q: Well, revoking a visa would come under your purview.

PSAKI: That is true, but that’s a separate question. And I’ll see if there’s criteria that’s publicly available in terms of how that would apply to anyone.

Q: Or precedent for such type of —

PSAKI: We will see what is available. Elise is smiling because she’s so excited right now.

Q: Is it actually something that you are involved in the decision-making of? You — would — the Justice Department would be involved in deciding whether it should be revoked and then you would just stamp cancelled or something on it, right? I mean, is the State Department involved in considering deportation cases or is that purely a function of law enforcement?

PSAKI: Well, we’re getting down quite a rabbit hole here with Justin Bieber, but —

Q: Well, on anyone. I’m just wondering if this is the right place to be asking a question about that because I’m not sure that you guys do —

PSAKI: That is a fair point. I was trying to give a serious answer on — I will check and see what the visa implications would be for anybody who is found of possibly violating the law.

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