What do the new immigration laws in the west mean for those who wander about in a vehicle? The Supreme Court just upheld the portion of the AZ law that requires the police to check for papers proving that a person is legally in the US. They noted that police must not racially profile to determine this and they must have some reasonable suspicion that a person is possibly an illegal alien. It seems like the two are pretty much inconsistent. How do you suspect that someone is illegal if you don't racially profile? If they have an accent? Would a cop in AZ consider a heavy New England accent to be foreign? I've heard some so thick I could barely understand them. Same for some southern accents. Even particular places in Maryland have very different accents.
So what happens to someone who was born in this country if asked for your papers? In order to avoid charges of racial profiling, do they stop and ask everyone for their papers? Do they just stop some random white people with clear US accents for their papers? See, we're not racially profiling, we are an equal opportunity harasser. This sure sounds like all those old movies of WWII when people were stopped and had to provide their papers to Fascist police who as often as not took you into custody for unclear reasons. (Looking for bribes?)
There is no requirement for US citizens to have papers proving they are US citizens. There never has been. We don't even have a requirement for a national ID card. Any such attempts have been soundly defeated in congress on the grounds that we are the land of the free and have no business controlling people like that. So this runs smack dab into the new AZ law requiring you to show your papers, which you are not required to have, to prove you are in this country legally. And the AZ police are now required to detain you if you don't have your papers! Whether they want to or not, the law now forces them to detain you. Until you can come up whatever these papers are. That you are not required to carry in this country.
Does a driver's license qualify as "papers"? Not all states make you prove you are a citizen or have legal status in the US to get a drivers license. Many states consider a drivers license as required to operate a vehicle, not as some sort of citizenship ID. I know that my state is one that refused to implement the attempts to have all states meet higher identification standards. So do the AZ police accept out of state licenses? Do they know which states require proof of citizenship?
The only paper I have that actually proves that I was born in the US of US parents is my birth certificate. Everything else is essentially a trail of documentation that I am who I say I am. I don't carry my birth certificate everywhere with me. And that has no real ID to the current me. A passport surely would suffice but mine is expired and I haven't gotten it updated yet. I wouldn't normally carry that with me for travel in the US either.
It seems states like AZ are asking anyone who travels to stay away or we might decide to harass you. I find it a grievous insult to be taken into custody until I can come up with some papers to prove to their satisfaction that I am a US citizen. The whole thing seems tailor made to give bad cops a free reign to harass anyone they want to. License and registration, ma'am. Ma'am, please step slowly out of the car. We can't accept an out of state drivers license as proof of your legal status in this country. May I see your papers please? If you don't' have the correct papers, then I have to take you into custody. You do not have proper papers. Then a full body frisk, a ride in a police car, and time in a jail cell.
Papers we are not required to have in this country. Papers that are not defined in the law. What a nightmare. It's hard to believe that the Supreme Court actually thought this is constitutional. Are they really this dumb? In Nazi Germany, maybe. And that doesn't even touch on all the issues with non Germanic/Anglo heritage people and how they can unfairly be harassed with this law.