Show Me Your Papers

Andrew Sullivan aggregates his reader responses to the Arizona immigration law. I like the first one especially:

Whenever I read about the absurdity of the Arizona law (and of course, the lawyer that I am, I went out and read the law), my thoughts turn to my family.  I’m half Cuban, my family has been here for more or less 40 years – citizens, naturalized or natural born, all.  What I think about most is my 85 year old grandfather (or my 75 year old great aunt) whose English isn’t very good (it’s deteriorated a lot in the last ten years since my grandmother passed away).  He’s a naturalized citizen, he doesn’t have "papers."  He may have a passport, but are we really going to say that you have to carry your passport for domestic travel (which, by the way, is unconstitutional)?  How, exactly, is he suppose to prove his citizenship?  Or for that matter, my mother, who was so young when they came to the US that she was naturalized because her parents were naturalized?

There are a lot of people who are going to be harassed under this law.  And they’re not going to be illegal immigrants, they are going to be American citizens.

Another reader wrote:

And the biggest question of all is “what is  reasonable suspicion”? Being different color? Being a tax-paying, law-abiding LEGAL immigrant, I definitely consider this law to be racist and being close to police-state.


I’m a legal immigrant in a sense; I was born in Scotland to American parents. My birth certificate disappeared years ago, when my mother got Alzheimer’s and evidently misplaced a lockbox.

I’m glad I speak English well and am light skinned enough to avoid suspicion of being an immigrant most of the time. I’ve caught some people surprised to find out I’m Latino and an immigrant—sometimes months after special moments of awesomeness as they spoke ill of Latinos, their words riddled with expletives against people like me.

Cesar Conda:

This is why conservatives like Jeb Bush, Marco Rubio, Tunku Varadarajan, David Boaz of the Cato Institute, Bob Barr, and others have raised concerns about the Arizona law, and specifically that this "reasonable suspicion" standard could lead police officers to unreasonably single out legal immigrants and American citizens.  Some proponents of the new law contend that the only likely context where this law would come into play is a traffic stop. But what appears to be a speeding van filled with illegal immigrants could also be an American family of ethnic origin driving through Arizona on vacation and going a little over the speed limit.

Am I to carry my naturalization papers everywhere I go just in case I need to prove I’m a citizen? How is this anything but a police state reminiscent of Nazi Germany?

When an alien lives with you in your land, do not mistreat him. The alien living with you must be treated as one of your native-born. Love him as yourself, for you were aliens in Egypt (Leviticus 19:33-34).


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