U.S. press secretary Jay Carney reassured NBC journalist Peter Alexander at a routine, January 31 press conference that, yes, the White House will address a petition to deport Justin Bieber from the United States and revoke his green card, “as is our commitment.” The “We the People” petition, requiring 100,000 signatures by February 22 to proceed, has over 239,000 as of today.
“I just want to note that people go back and look at the questions NBC is asking here,” Carney said, before Alexander pressed on.
“But obviously after 100,000, the White House, the administration is supposed to have a prompt reply, so we request yours.”
“Well, that process will occur,” Carney said. “As is our commitment, there will be a response when the threshold is crossed. That response will come, I’m sure, relatively soon. I don’t have one now. On matters related to visas, I refer you to [the Department of Homeland Security].”
By then, the press secretary didn’t have news to share, aside from a plug for President Barack Obama‘s new efforts to aid the long-term unemployed.
Meanwhile, media outlets have contacted legal experts asking whether the White House could in fact deport the pop star; Toronto authorities have charged him for assault, while he faces a DUI case in Miami and is under investigation for felony vandalism in California. A week prior, Andrea Mitchell interrupted former Rep. Jane Harman‘s comments on national surveillance to break news of Bieber’s arrest in Miami.
“Although the existence (and success) of this online petition is certainly amusing, even when an official response is published, it is unlikely to satisfy the petition’s supporters,” legal expert Henry Chang said to Toronto Star. “This is because the White House does not have any real authority to deport an individual that it deems undesirable.”
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