The White House petition to deport Piers Morgan back to his native England has been signed by more than 41,000 people – far surpassing the 25,000 required in order to be considered by the Obama administration.
The petition was launched on Thursday by a man in Austin, Texas as a response to the CNN host’s comments on his show last week defending proposed gun control legislation, including legislation that Senator Dianne Feinstein (D-Calif.) plans to introduce in January calling for a ban on assault weapons in the United States.
The full text of the petition reads as such:
British Citizen and CNN television host Piers Morgan is engaged in a hostile attack against the U.S. Constitution by targeting the Second Amendment. We demand that Mr. Morgan be deported immediately for his effort to undermine the Bill of Rights and for exploiting his position as a national network television host to stage attacks against the rights of American citizens.
Morgan’s initial comments came during a heated interview last Tuesday with Larry Pratt, the executive director of Gun Owners for America, while the two were discussing the tragic shootings at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, Conn. on December 14.
“You’re talking complete and utter nonsense,” Morgan told Pratt. He blamed the increased sale of assault weapons in the days after the Sandy Hook shooting on “idiots like you” and ended the interview by saying that Pratt ”[shames his] country.”
The following night, in a special episode focused on gun control in America, Morgan berated Fox News contributor John Lott, calling him a liar. Lott was sitting in the audience during the taping.
He has also taken to his personal Twitter feed, @piersmorgan, to continue the debate over gun control and the threat of his deportation.
Despite the fact that the White House is required to review the petition it is likely to be denied. According to immigration attorney Mark Schifanelli, it is up to the Department of Homeland Security to pursue the deportation process, and even if it was warranted Morgan could potentially win the right to stay through the appeals process.
“He’s got certain rights,” Schifanelli told ABC News Monday. “Even as a foreign national in the United States, he’s afforded various rights under national security law and due process.”
Additionally, as Schifanelli points out, Morgan’s comments – both on his show and Twitter – are likely protected by the First Amendment.
Morgan is also not the only nationally televised cable host to have a petition launched against him in recent days. A man in Boise, Idaho just launched a petition against David Gregory, the host of NBC’s Meet the Press, after displaying a high-capacity rifle magazine during his interview with NRA Executive Vice President Wayne LaPierre on yesterday’s show. The show is filmed in Washington, D.C., where it is illegal to possess assault weapons.
As of press time only 2,500 people have signed the petition against Gregory.