Papers? We Ain’t Got No Papers!

21 04 2010

Let me start out by saying that illegal immigration is a significant problem for the United States. In my opinion, the biggest threat posed by illegal immigration is the fact that both major political parties in this country use the issue to goad their followers into a frenzy. People living along the US border with Mexico might not agree, which is their privilege. They’re closer to the problem, and deal with the short-term consequences of it every day. I, however, live in the Shallow South. We have a much smaller problem with illegal immigrants here, which allows some of us to look at the forest, while others are focused on the trees.

My personal opinion is to allow open immigration, with the stipulation that every would-be immigrant gets photographed, fingerprinted, and gives a DNA sample. Make the immigration process inexpensive and not particularly time-consuming, then open the flood gates and put ’em to work- at regular wages and paying taxes.

Unfortunately, there are a lot of people in this country making money- and scoring political points- from illegal immigration. The money bit we can deal with by fining to smithereens any company employing illegal immigrants (and jailing the company executives). The political issue, however, is a tougher nut to crack. The folks on the right like using illegal immigration to stir up thinly-disguised racism among their followers. The folks on the left like using illegal immigration to push through ever-greater entitlement programs in their quest for cradle-to-grave government dependency for all. Both groups also enjoy getting campaign contributions and other baksheesh from grateful company executives who get to use illegal immigrants as not-quite slaves. I am admittedly painting with a wide brush, but the fact remains that many politicians have vested interests in illegal immigration.

In Arizona, for example, the state legislature has sent an illegal immigration bill to the Governor for signature. Among other things, this bill would require all legal immigrants to carry their residence status documents with them at all times. That, in itself, is only slightly fascistic. Another part of the bill allows law enforcement to demand proof of citizenship from anyone who- in the opinion of the law enforcement officer- might be an illegal immigrant.

For those of you with quizzical expressions on your faces, here is a capsule description: Any cop in Arizona can demand proof of legal residence from any brown person in the state- anywhere, anytime. For those who are still wondering why this is a problem, ask yourself what will happen to the throngs of American citizens (born and raised here in the US) of Latin American descent. Now ask yourself this: how would you provide proof of citizenship if required to do so? Don’t bother reaching for your wallet- your driver’s license alone won’t do. Passport, birth certificate, or other US Government documentation proving legal residence por favor.

I’m reasonably certain that the standard of “innocent until proven guilty” is still in effect in this country, but this Arizona bill threatens to turn that on its head. Any person who looks like they might be an illegal immigrant to any cop in Arizona will now be forced to prove his or her innocence at any moment. How anyone with a functioning brain (I include Arizona politicians as a courtesy) can believe this is a good idea is completely beyond me. It’s not just un-Constitutional, it is industrial-strength stupid and utterly un-American.

I’m told that there is a large community of expatriate Canadians living in Arizona, no doubt some of which have expired visas. Will the Arizona police agencies be conducting sweeps for people wearing touks? Will there be INS raids for people who can’t quite master the words about or house? I somehow doubt it. The cops in Arizona will most likely take the path of least resistance and just pull over every person with brown skin and toss ’em in jail if they cannot provide proof of citizenship or legal residence.

Here’s a better idea: Arizona cops should make a policy of pulling over every single member of the state legislature and demanding that they provide proof of legal residence. Make ’em squat on the side of the road while the cops check their ID, all the while speaking to them in broken Spanish. See how long this law stays on the books.

If the Arizona legislature wants to do something about illegal immigration, fine. Draft a law punishing employers who hire illegals. That will dramatically reduce the number of illegal immigrants. Passing laws which turn every law enforcement agent into stereotypical gestapo (papers, bitte!) is a colossal waste of time and money, and furthermore takes law enforcement personnel away from their primary tasks in favor of harassing brown people. Imagine the lawsuits under the 4th Amendment from legal residents and natural-born citizens who get victimized by this law. The money spent fighting these inevitable legal battles would be far better spent on dealing with more important issues, in my opinion. There is no excuse for violating the civil rights of any American in this manner.

For those of you living in Arizona, you might want to un-elect every incumbent next election. The ones you have are obviously morons.

Current status: Visibly peeved

Current music: No Rain by Blind Melon

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11 responses

21 04 2010
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29 04 2010
An Arizonan

While the law doesn’t require production of a birth certificate or immigration documents specifically (a driver’s license will usually suffice), it would be foolishly naive to expect that all street cops will be equally respectful of brown-skinned people. In California, they have “attitude” tickets, where one can be arrested for pissing off a cop. This will be the Arizona equivalent – if the officer doesn’t like your face, your race, or your attitude, he may just decide that you look like an illegal immigrant. Many, many people in Arizona are disgusted by this law and worried that it is just another sign of creeping fascism.

30 04 2010
archvillain

An Arizonan As I read the text of the law, an Arizona driver’s license would be acceptable, or a license from any other state which is deemed by Arizona to have equally strict eligibility requirements. Since not every state requires legal residence for issuing a driver’s license, Arizona police will now be able to arrest any person who appears to be of hispanic descent from several states- whether or not they were born in this country.

Furthermore, this law puts the burden of proof upon the arrestee- which violates a central tenet of American jurisprudence: innocent until proven guilty.

I concede that Arizonans should be worried about creeping fascism when folks like Joe Arpaio are in positions of authority. This law is really just icing on the cake.

2 05 2010
The BoBo Carnival of Politics May 2, 2010 Edition | The BoBo Files

[…] presents Papers? We Ain?t Got No Papers! posted at A Dark and Sinister Force for Good, saying, “Illegal immigration may be a problem, […]

6 05 2010
dzu shofi

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9 05 2010
Allen Scott

WOW, there is a great deal of misinformation in this article. It is well written however so I guess I should give you kudos for that but, and this is a big but, the Arizona law is only an enforcement measure enforcing FEDERAL LAW. Now then if you want to cry foul then point your fingers toward Washington DC and start waving them in that direction. Failure to SECURE our BORDERS is a failure of this administration and everyone that preceded it. That is job one for the federal government to keep it’s current citizens free and safe and to protect our borders.

OPEN immigration is not in a countries best interests and any working person should know this. The laws of supply and demand work in the workforce as well as the economy at large. The greater the supply of CHEAP labor the lower the wages. The lessor supply of cheap labor the higher the wages. FLOOD the market with too many workers and the resulting lower wages ensues. I agree that WHEN NEEDED and for the BEST INTEREST of it’s citizenry immigration is a good thing, but open, unhindered, unrestricted immigration is suicide to an independent nation. It should be seen as a PRIVILEGE to be invited to join our society and those who apply for that citizenship should see it as an honor to be welcomed into our shores, not as a right. Crashing our borders is akin to trespassing on your own private property. You seem to be espousing the elimination of private property rights in order to bestow rights on lawbreakers. The fact that these gate crashers failed to obey the most basic law of the land… KNOCK before you enter, it is not too unreasonable to think they will not obey nationalization laws either..which in fact they have not.

Arizona is faced with a tough decision, look the other way and continue to allow LAW ABIDING citizens to be harassed by illegal trespassers or try to get tough on crime. Make no mistake about it, crossing our borders without proper authorization is a criminal act. NO other sovereign country allows such blatant disregard for their border laws. I am all in favor of working with anyone who ASKS to come here, but I have very little patience for those who simply force their way in and then demand that we give them our property.

I am an American born citizen, and even I have been asked to SHOW papers on many occasions and I did not for a minute think it was an unreasonable request. Any police officer can pull you over at anytime and ask to see your license and registration. Now upon running those pieces of identification if there appears to be something amiss with your ‘papers’ you will be questioned further or perhaps even hauled off to prison. THIS can happen to an average legal American Citizen. It should not come as a surprise than that these illegals should have to produce proof they are here legally. IF they are they have nothing to fear, if they are not then I suggest they find a way to get legal and quick or leave Arizona for New York or California or some other place where they can free load undetected. I say way to go Arizona, STATES RIGHTS baby.

10 05 2010
archvillain

Allen Scott– I’ve read your comment twice, and I fail to see where you identified the “misinformation” in the posted article. You are entitled to your opinions, but please try to restrain yourself from capitalizing random words.

As originally written, the Arizona immigration bill required police agencies in that state to demand proof of legal residence from anyone who- in the officer’s opinion- might be an illegal immigrant. The documents listed as acceptable proof of legal residence specifically exclude driver’s licenses from many states (those which do not require citizenship to issue a license). In short, this makes it likely that large numbers of citizens could be arrested for the “crime” of not carrying approved documentation such as birth certificates or passports while travelling in Arizona. I’m reasonably certain that the US Constitution frowns on that sort of impediment to interstate commerce.

Worse still is the presumption of guilt in the law as written and amended. In our justice system, the burden of proof is always on the state. Arizona has decided to make citizens prove their citizenship. Once this law goes into effect in six weeks or so, I expect there to be a tsunami of lawsuits filed in Federal courts, responding to which will cost Arizona tons of money the state cannot afford to spend.

Once more, you have failed to demonstrate any misinformation on my part.

10 05 2010
Allen Scott

Okay let me try but there is too much to take it sentence by sentence but I shall do my best.

You said: “The folks on the right like using illegal immigration to stir up thinly-disguised racism among their followers. ” This is hyperbole and not a truism therefore it would qualify as misinformation or a gross exaggeration.

Then you said: “Among other things, this bill would require all legal immigrants to carry their residence status documents with them at all times. That, in itself, is only slightly fascistic.” There is nothing in the language of the Arizona bill that makes this requirement. So then your statement is misleading.

Shall we continue? Okay we shall. You then said this: “Another part of the bill allows law enforcement to demand proof of citizenship from anyone who- in the opinion of the law enforcement officer- might be an illegal immigrant.” you left out only if retained because of another infraction. Police can not willy nilly just stop anyone without probable cause and demand proof. In fact proof must be gotten through the federal agency that oversees immigration status. They must defer to the federal government. Your statement is partially true but by not adding the clarifier it is slightly misleading.

Then you said this: “For those of you with quizzical expressions on your faces, here is a capsule description: Any cop in Arizona can demand proof of legal residence from any brown person in the state- anywhere, anytime.” and this is simply not true.

Going on: you said: “For those who are still wondering why this is a problem, ask yourself what will happen to the throngs of American citizens (born and raised here in the US) of Latin American descent. Now ask yourself this: how would you provide proof of citizenship if required to do so? Don’t bother reaching for your wallet- your driver’s license alone won’t do. Passport, birth certificate, or other US Government documentation proving legal residence por favor.” Again it is not up to the person to provide proof of their citizenship status the arresting officer needs to inquire of the federal agencies involved in naturalization whether a person is legal or not. Of course this would be simple if the immigrant has in his possession his permits and legal registrations (green cards I think they are called) Again this is only after they have been detained for another legal infraction not while shopping at the ice cream shop. So again your statement was meant to stir up a frenzied response. But it was not accurate thusly it is misleading.

DO I need to continue or does it suffice it to say there is a great deal of misinformation in your post? And I only covered the first five paragraphs. There is more. But I tie of the exercise.

11 05 2010
archvillain

Allen Scott– At the end of that paragraph, you will find the following sentence: I am admittedly painting with a wide brush, but the fact remains that many politicians have vested interests in illegal immigration. Furthermore, a visit to Free Republic and similar conservative websites reveals overt racism on the part of a many commenters. The comments you object to are therefore not misinformation. I also note that you appear to have no objection to my characterization of the liberal side of the argument.

The bill does not specifically require citizens and legal residents to carry birth certificates and passports, but the result is the same. Anyone who might be an illegal immigrant in the opinion of the officer encountering them must provide proof of legal residence or risk arrest. This is specifically written into the law- even as amended. Since some states do not require proof of legal residence to issue a driver’s license, licenses from those states are not acceptable as proof of legal residence in Arizona. This will require natural born citizens and naturalized citizens from states other than Arizona to carry documents which meet the proof-of-legal-residence qualifications of this law (in other words, passports and/or birth certificates). Not misinformation. Not even misleading. A simple statement of fact gleaned from reading the legislation.

The “brown people” bit seems to have caught your eye, but is the inevitable result of the legislation as written (and amended). The police officer has to have “reasonable suspicion” that the person they are interviewing or writing a ticket is an illegal alien. This reasonable suspicion is not even loosely defined in the law, and is rife with the probability of abuse. Worse still, the part of the law permitting Arizona residents to sue law enforcement agencies for failing to react to complaints about suspected illegals practically forces the police to harass anyone with brown skin and/or an accent, lest their agency get sued by irate residents. Furthermore, with the well-documented antics of the Maricopa County Sheriffs Office literally harassing and arresting anyone with brown skin and an accent, this new law provides a semblance of legality for such institutionalized racism.

Yet another mistake you seem to be making is the reasons under which a police officer can demand proof of legal residence. The original legislation gave the police wide powers to demand papers during any “lawful contact”. if a police officer decided during normal conversation with the waittress at the local donut shop that she might be an illegal alien, he could demand- on pain of arrest- that she produce proof of legal residence. Thankfully, this part of the law was corrected more than a week after I wrote the article.

Under the new guidelines, police have to be involved in criminal contact with the suspect before demanding proof of legal residence. This is a step in the right direction (and how the law should have been written in the first place), but still puts the burden of proof on the suspect. Once again, native-born citizens from outside Arizona risk being jailed for being illegal aliens after a routine traffic stop if they don’t meet Arizona standards for appropriate documentation. If you’re a resident of New York or California (for just two examples), your driver’s license is not proof of legal residence. Citizens of those states are therefore required to carry passports or birth certificates while travelling in Arizona or risk being arrested for any non-casual contact with Arizona police. This is unacceptable for any free country, and too high a price to pay for dealing with the illegal immigration problem.

11 05 2010
Allen Scott

“I am admittedly painting with a wide brush, but the fact remains that many politicians have vested interests in illegal immigration.”

Yes and that brush painted a picture you wanted to convey that the enforcement of Federal Immigration laws by a state is somehow illegal while ignoring the basic facts that many “brown skin” folks are here illegally.; Now if they feel that having to show some evidence of their legal status is such a bother well then might I suggest they 1) get legal or 2) leave Arizona for a more illegal immigrant friendly state. or 3) go back home.

Ignoring the rights of legal citizens in order to offer citizen’s rights to non-citizens seems to me to be the extreme position. Simply asking for proof of resident status, (which by the way is required under the Federal immigration bill) does not sound to unreasonable to me. Anyone apprehended for a crime are questioned and finger-printed and a mug shot is taken. For the purpose of determining their identity. Now in the course of determining a person’s identity it is discovered that they have committed other crimes then they are detained for those crimes as well. Again this is reasonable.

By suggesting all Police officers are corrupt and will harass innocent people is as stereotypical as saying all mexican people are illegal. Neither statement is true therefore to make such a blanket statement is purposefully misleading and made to gender strife and cause an uprising.

As far as providing adequate identification when stopped for a traffic violation or suspicion of criminal activity is not unreasonable. And I do not feel it is too high a price to pay. Willfully being in another country illegally is too high a price to pay when it is not all that difficult to obtain proper papers to be legal.

Since you feel that enforcement of the FEDERAL laws mandating proper permits be obtained before entering our country is some how unreasonable would you care to offer your solution?

11 05 2010
archvillain

Allen Scott– You appear to be reading more into this than is actually present. At no time did I claim that Arizona has no business enforcing immigration laws. What I have said- repeatedly- is that this particular law will do little more than provide the trappings of legitimacy to those police officers (especially Maricopa County Sheriffs) who routinely and blatantly round up groups of brown people for the crime of being brown. Since there are multiple Federal court cases and at least two Justice Department incvestigations into MCSD violations of civil rights, this is not hyperbole or my personal bias. Objective facts are the basis for those statements.

At the same time, you do not appear to be actually reading the law in question. Police officers are not required to wait until after an arrest to demand proof of legal residence. They can do so during the course of any lawful interaction with people suspected of violating the law. Since there is no exclusion built into the law for such relatively innocuous things as traffic stops, police are therefore required (on pain of civilian lawsuit) to demand proof of legal residence from people they “reasonably suspect” might be illegals during traffic stops, criminal investigations, and similar non-arrest situations.

My objection is not the possibility that illegal immigrants might be discovered and arrested under this law, but rather that legal residents– including native-born citizens- are at risk of arrest for the crime of not having appropriate documentation. As i have explained repeatedly to you, driver’s licenses are not acceptable proof of legal residence to under this law except for Arizona licenses and those of a few other states. Are you a resident of Arizona? If not, do you carry a passport or birth certificate with you at all times? Under this law, you could be arrested after a traffic stop for speeding in Arizona on suspicion of being an illegal immigrant without those documents.

As for enforcing the border, the best way to deal with the flow of illegal immigrants is to cut off the demand. Companies and individuals who knowingly employ illegals should be fined heavily (say, 50% of the company/individual’s assets) and the individual/company officers (all the way up to CEO) should serve lengthy prison terms. Cut off the supply of jobs for illegals, and the river of illegal immigrants will slow to a trickle, which can be handled by existing methods (Border Patrol, ICE, etc). This is where the politics comes into play. Politicians on both sides of the aisle are unwilling to punish their campaign contributors too heavily, and both sides are also making political hay out of the issue.

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