Tuesday, April 20, 2010

Don't go there

Now comes the Arizona Legislature to solve the country's "immigration problem." In their exalted wisdom, both houses of that state's legislature have passed a bill that would make not having immigration documents on your person at all times a state misdemeanor. It would allow police officers, on their own discretion, to stop anyone who looks like a non-citizen to them and require that person to prove that they are in the country legally. If they don't have papers documenting their legality, they are to be arrested. The bill requires that police officers who have "reasonable suspicion" about someone's immigration status demand to see documents and it empowers anyone to sue any state agency or official or any county, city or town that he or she believes is not fully enforcing the law.

Can you say racial profiling? How about frivolous and politically driven lawsuits? (It is worth noting that this bill was introduced and passed by the party that always proclaims itself against "frivolous lawsuits" that jam the court dockets.) Police agencies that are already overwhelmed by overly tough enforcement tactics, particularly in regard to drugs, would be further hobbled by this appalling bill, should it become law. Now it is all in the hands of the governor, a Republican, who must decide whether she will sign into law this bill that has been pushed by her party.

As the rest of the country gazes in some bemusement at this spectacle, one wonders how this might affect the tourism industry which is a big part of the Arizona economy. Let's say, for example, that I decide to take a road trip to see the Grand Canyon, but sometime after I pass the New Mexico/Arizona state line, a cop pulls me over, takes one look at me and decides I look like an alien. He asks to see my "papers." Well, I don't carry "papers" within the boundary of my own country. I don't have my birth certificate or my passport. That police officer is bound by this bill to arrest me and toss me into jail.

Looking at myself in the mirror, I am very much afraid that I would appear too much of an alien to an Arizona police officer. I think the safest course for me and other alien-looking Americans is to stay the hell out of Arizona! Just don't go there.

No comments:

Post a Comment