Friday, April 30, 2010

Immigration Laws and Me...

One of the arguments against Arizona's new immigration-enforcement law is that it threatens to turn the desert into a Police State, full of racist police officers (all police officers are racists, according to Al Sharpton. It's a requirement for the job) empowered to harass every Brownskin in sight and ask that most-cliched of Movie Nazi phrases "Your papers, please?".

The Law says (and it's only mimicking Federal Law here) that if someone already in contact with the police for a reasonable assumption of criminal activity or civil violation cannot prove they are a citizen of the United States, or in the country legally (producing some form of state-issued identification or a Green Card upon demand) , they are, therefore, presumed to be in the country illegally and subject to deportation.

But a question left unasked is what happens when the State and Federal Governments deliberately make it more difficult to obtain a document proving citizenship...for actual citizens?

If you've been reading this blog, then you know of my trials and tribulations with obtaining a New York State Non-Driver's Identification card. I can't satisfy the valid photo-id requirements because my previously-state-issued photo identification documents have expired, and are, naturally, not valid for the purposes of obtaining this Holy Grail.

I can give them a birth certificate which states that I was born on May 2, 1967 in Beth Israel Hospital in Manhattan to a American Citizens (one of them a New York City Police Officer -- it says right there "Father's Occupation: Police Officer"). I can produce the necessary proofs of address. I can give them a Social Security Card. But my old driver's licence and State-Department-issued Passport are both expired, and therefore invalid for this purpose, and so the whole process dies a feeble death just within sight of the goal.

Without that Identification card, finding work becomes a little bit more difficult, since other laws require employers to verify the citizenship and immigration status of their hires. And guess what? A social Security Card and Birth Certificate don't constitute positive proof of either for these purposes! There needs to be a piece of state-issued identification with a photograph on it.

Now, what should happen, if I were to be stopped by a police officer for some offense, and he asked me for my proof of citizenship -- and I don't have one, even though I am a native-born Son?

I'm all for sending illegal immigrants back where they came from if they don't have permission to be in the country, but why is that the government -- in a half-assed-and-day-late-and-dollar-short effort to fight illegal immigration and terrorism -- in the process of making it more difficult for illegals and terrorist to obtain identity documents, make it harder for citizens to get them, too?

Probably because it's easier to inconvenience the taxpaying innocent than it is to actually catch the bad guys, perhaps?

I should probably be very careful about jaywalking or littering in front of a cop, or else I might have to write this blog from Sicily in future.

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