White House Declines To Deport Bieber, Pivots To Immigration Reform In Its Official Response

TechCrunch squinted slightly when the White House petition to deport the Canadian Justin Bieber passed the 100,000-signature mark, the minimum threshold to warrant an official response. (At that time, TechCrunch offered to help build a catapult to assist in completing the expulsion.)

The White House today responded to the petition with a dodge:

Thanks for your petition and your participation in We the People.

Sorry to disappoint, but we won’t be commenting on this one.

Hardly a surprise. (The White House did link to this Time piece that details why sending Biebs home would not be a simple task, legally.) But given that no moment can be wasted in politics, the White House quickly pivoted in its response to a discussion of immigration reform.

On a different note, the “Pardon Edward Snowden” petition, which collected more than 150,000 signatures during its open period, still lacks an official response. Surprise.

Immigration reform, comprehensive or otherwise, is showing signs of life again in Congress. Speaker of the House John Boehner claims to be “hellbent” on getting something passed, but House Majority Leader Eric Cantor and the president can’t agree about what they spoke about on the phone. The Senate plan, passed previously, is dead in the House as it won’t be brought up for a vote. And it isn’t clear if the Senate has any appetite to take up House-passed — provided the House can pass something at all — legislation that would tackle immigration by parts, and not all at once.

A small potential glimmer for the techies: If the House does manage to pass smaller, bite-sized immigration fixes, high-skill immigration reform could find itself decoupled from larger immigration reform. That would raise its chances, albeit in a minor way — from oh-so-slim to not-quite-as-oh-so-slim — of passing this year.