UndocuMemes Use Bieber's Arrest to Highlight Discrimination In Deportation Measures
By now, over 100,000 people have signed a petition on the White House's website asking that Justin Bieber be deported— which means that the White House must respond. The White House has already once before responded to a petition for a Death Star, and the media is anxiously awaiting its response to calls for Bieber's deportation. After all the hijinks he's been getting up to — what with egging a neighbor's house and drink-and-drag-racing — we want to know what'll happen next.
But enough about Bieber and his deportation. What about the undocumented Latino immigrants who face deportation every day?
Enter UndocuMemes, a forum created by members of DreamActivist.org: Luis Moreno, Yessica Gonzales, Jonathan Perez, and Jesus Iniguez. UndocuMemes exists as both a Facebook community and a Tumblr, publishing memes that engage young voices in the immigrant rights movement, while making fun of the United States' attempts at immigration reform. The current activists behind UndocuMemes — who are also part of the Immigrant Youth Coalition — are now trying to use Bieber's antics to draw attention to immigration reform.
UndocuMemes, which has existed since 2012, started a viral hashtag last month to respond to Bieber's arrest: #Undeportable. UndocuMemes supporters across the U.S. are posting pictures that symbolize how racial discrimination ties into deportation. Here are a few of the entries:
"Contrary to what some folks think we do not support the deportation of Justin Bieber. In fact we call for a halt of deportations through administrative relief,"one of the creators of UndocuMemes, Luis Moreno, tells Bustle. "We think the president defeats his immigration reform goals by continuing to deport the same people he so claims to want to bring out of the shadow. What good is comprehensive immigration reform to someone who has been deported?"
Moreno hopes that the White House petition will provide a spotlight for other White House petitions that haven't gotten as many signatures — namely, the anti-deportation ones.
"We want the White House to acknowledge the countless other anti-deportation petitions that exist," Moreno says. "Two million people have been deported and countless more families have been separated. Where is the White House's response to them?"
As of today, the White House has not responded to the petition, which already has over 240,000 signatures. Here is the sole paragraph from the petition, which is titled "Deport Justin Bieber and revoke his green card":
We the people of the United States feel that we are being wrongly represented in the world of pop culture. We would like to see the dangerous, reckless, destructive, and drug abusing, Justin Bieber deported and his green card revoked. He is not only threatening the safety of our people but he is also a terrible influence on our nations youth. We the people would like to remove Justin Bieber from our society.
This week, Bieber has been busy biting stripper's nipples in Los Angeles, and skateboarding his heart out in New York City. Meanwhile, President Obama says he can't stop the deportation of non-criminal immigrants, but that he wants to see "immigration reform done this year." We'll be waiting.