Is there nothing the Biebz can’t do?
On Wednesday, Rep. Luis Gutierrez made his case against Arizona’s new immigration law to the U.S. House of Representatives — and he used the young love of Justin Bieber and Selena Gomez to advance his cause.
In his speech, the Illinois Democrat spoke in sarcastic awe of the intelligence and telepathy of Arizona officials. Their new law, he said, proved that they could tell the difference between legal citizens and undocumented Americans without racial profiling.
Many portions of Arizona’s new law were declared unconstitutional earlier this week, but Gutierrez’s beef is with what critics have called the “papers, please” provision upheld by the U.S. Supreme Court — that police in Arizona can ask anyone to declare their status if they have “reasonable suspicion” that that person is undocumented.
Gutierrez used pictures of celebrities to prove that any such law would almost by necessity involve a certain amount of racial profiling. Showing head shots of Justin Bieber side by side with his current girlfriend, singer and actress Selena Gomez, Gutierrez said, “These young people have overcome their very different national origins and become apparently a happy couple. I’m sure Justin helped Gomez learn all about American customs and feel more at home in her adopted country.”
“Oh wait a minute, I’m sorry,” he continued. “Because I’m not a trained Arizona official, I somehow got that backwards. Actually, Ms. Gomez, of Texas, has helped Mr. Bieber, of Canada, learn all about his adopted country.”
“Justin, when you perform in Phoenix, remember to bring your papers,” Gutierrez added.
Other celebrities in what Gutierrez called “Arizona’s pick out the immigrant” game included Geraldo Rivera vs. Ted Koppel (Rivera is American; Koppel was born in England); Jeremy Lin vs. Tony Parker (Lin is from California; Parker is from France); and even Supreme Court judges Sonia Sotomeyor vs. Antonin Scalia (okay, a trick question: both are American, although Scalia’s father was an immigrant).
Despite the theatrics of his presentation, Gutierrez’s point was very serious. “This law is not just a problem for people who are undocumented, it’s not just a problem for immigrants. It’s not just a problem for those who look like they might have come to America from somewhere else,” he said. “It’s a problem for all of us who believe no person who be treated as a suspect based on how they look, their accent, or the spelling of their name.”