LATINO VOICES
01/29/2014 06:56 am ET Updated Jan 29, 2014

#Undeportable Campaign Puts Race At Center Of Immigration Debate

Facebook/UndocuMemes

Immigrant rights advocates have initiated a campaign on social media to denounce what they say are racial disparities that exist in U.S. immigration policy.

They began using the hashtag #Undeportable to post selfies with fake blonde hair and blue eyes. They’re doing it as a way to protest what they believe is preferential treatment that’s given to white immigrants over immigrants of color.

The campaign kicked off last week almost immediately after Canadian singer Justin Bieber was arrested for street racing and was later released on a $2,500 bond. He was charged with a DUI, driving with an expired license and resisting arrest.

Police officers said Bieber also admitted to consuming alcohol, smoking marijuana and taking prescription medication before his arrest. On top of that, investigators in California are looking into whether Bieber will face a felony vandalism charge for an egging of his neighbor’s home.

If convicted of these crimes, Bieber could be facing not only jail time but also a possible deportation, because he is not a U.S. citizen. He was born in Canada and is reportedly in the United States on an O-1 work visa, which are given to immigrants with “extraordinary ability in the sciences, arts, education, business or athletics.”

Immigration experts, including some from the ACLU, say that typically an immigrant facing the same charges as Bieber would be handed over to immigration agents, and if convicted, would be deported.

But that’s not likely to happen to the Canadian singer.

In an opinion column published last week on CNN.com, journalist Ruben Navarrette suggested that Bieber will most likely not be deported because of he is wealthy.

“Bieber has an estimated net worth of about $130 million,” Navarrette wrote. “I bet that, right about now, many of those Mexican immigrants who were deported because they came to the attention of local police officers for a burned-out taillight, or for not making a complete stop at an intersection, are wishing that they had been a rich, white kid with marginal music ability and too much money. If so, things might have gone differently for them.”

Immigrant rights advocates from the #Undeportable campaign are going a step farther than Navarrete, suggesting Bieber is getting special treatment and might not be deported because of his celebrity status and because he is white.

Selfies people have posted with the hashtag #Undeportable

On Twitter:

On Facebook:

undeportable

undeportable

undeportable

undeportable

This article originally appeared on VOXXI under the title "#Undeportable campaign spreads on social media."

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