Call to Deport Bieber Is Second-Most Popular WH Petition

Image: Call to Deport Bieber Is Second-Most Popular WH Petition

Friday, 21 Feb 2014 11:41 AM

By Sandy Fitzgerald

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The White House knows it must respond to a petition calling for pop star Justin Bieber's deportation to Canada, but isn't saying when it will reply to the demand that has become the second-most popular petition in the three-year history of the president's online program.

"Every petition that crosses the threshold will be reviewed and receive a response," assistant White House press secretary Matt Lehrich told The Washington Times. "Response times vary based on a number of factors, including issue area and total volume of petitions."

Roger Skrzynski II, who posted the Bieber petition, said he did so in part to expose issues with the White House petition website, and never dreamed how fast the demand would grow. The deadline to join the more than 261,000 people who have already signed the petition is on Saturday, 30 days after Skrzynski posted it.

But Bieber-haters shouldn't expect to see the pop star on the next plane north anytime soon. The White House typically takes some time before it replies to one of the online petitions, and aides say the Obama administration steers clear of questions dealing with legal issues.

Bieber holds an O-1 visa, which are issued to high-profile performers, academics and other such people, and such visas are valid unless the recipient is found guilty of a violent crime.

The petition was created in January on the same day Bieber was arrested in Miami on suspicion of driving under the influence, resisting arrest without violence, and driving without a valid license.

He also faces charges for an alleged assault on his chauffeur in Canada, as well as claims that he and his friends egged a neighbor's mansion in Los Angeles, causing thousands of dollars worth of damage.

But the only petition to get more signatures than the Bieber document was a plea in 2012 asking that the Westboro Baptist Church be named as a hate group, and Skrzynski said he "feels like I finally brought America together on an issue for once."

The White House petition page was started in 2011 to give Americans the chance to gain support for causes. At first, only 5,000 signatures were needed to earn an official response, but eventually, the threshold was raised to 100,000.

Skrzynski, 24, said he has been waiting for a large issue to come along so he could draw attention to the website.

"I really don't like the website itself," he said. "It's too open to foreign signatures. It's a way for people in foreign countries to petition our government. I kind of wanted to put a joke on there to maybe get the White House's attention. Maybe they could fix it."

But he also admits he's concerned about the messages Bieber is sending his young fans. Some of his backers have posted their own petitions to keep him in the United States, but all four pleas have only gathered about 14,000 signatures.

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