In the wake of Arizona adopting the most draconian state immigration law in the nation (SB 1070), where local police can check to see if you are legally in the state, residents and tourists alike are wondering, “what do we have to do?” to avoid being thrown in jail and deported because you can’t prove you are a citizen or legally inside the country.
The first line of defense is avoid Arizona as many are doing, especially if you look like an illegal alien. We suggest just avoiding Maricopa County where Sheriff Joe Arpaio hunts for illegal aliens and supporters of SB 1070 are concentrated, and visit Tucson and southern Arizona which are famous for their tolerance and multi-culturalism.
The second line of defense is do not allow yourself to become the subject of a police encounter.
Drive careful out there. Strictly obeying the state’s traffic laws should reduce the probability of being subjected to a citizenship check. Supposedly, you can’t be stopped just because you look like an illegal alien. But once you are pulled over, the argument is the cops cannot avoid asking.
Make sure your head lights and tail lights and turn signal and license plate light work, and fix your cracked windshield. You can be pulled over by a cop for any of the foregoing and that’s a legal stop. Cops use these excuses to have a look see as to who you are and run your plate and license to see if there are any warrants out on you. Now you will be subjected to a legal status check as well starting July 29th.
Signal when you change lanes. A very common excuse for being pulled over is to fail to signal when you change lanes. If you’ve had to go to Traffic School, you know this.
Don’t drive around in a white van or a car with tinted windows: First hand experience says this will get you pulled over with unusual frequency in the state. These are called “profile” vehicles. If you are from out of state and renting a car, a Crown Victoria is best since it looks like one of our police cars.
Whatever else SB 1070 might accomplish, there are going to be a lot more careful drivers out there going the speed limit, signalling lane changes, and getting windshields repaired. This may be the only benefit from SB 1070.
If you are subject to a police encounter, there are arguments about what sort of documentation will keep you from being arrested and deported.
US Passport: A valid US passport should work in all situations. While you are not probably accustomed to carrying your passport everywhere you go in your daily life inside the US, Arizona is not exactly really a part of the United States. Get used to the potential of being asked to prove you are a citizen when stopped for running a red light, speeding, or when you are stopped for a broken windshield. Many US citizens will object to the need of carrying a passport to travel around inside a US state. That’s what you get with a GOP controlled state legislature.
Arizona Drivers License: So far it is claimed that an Arizona Drivers License will keep you from being deported. However state residents know the only thing our drivers licenses prove is how bad we looked the day they took our license photo. Given a choice of a passport or a driver’s license, get a passport.
Out of State Drivers Licenses: The bet is these won’t work. No one in Arizona trusts the state governments of California , New York , Massachusetts or those other paces snowbirds come from that elect Democrats to Congress. So bring your passport. You are in fact going to a foreign country we call Arizona .
Social Security Card: No way Jose. Millions of illegal aliens have fake social security cards and numbers, which are a windfall to the Social Security Administration because the illegals will never collect any benefits. It is rumored some enterprising Arizonans have posted their Social Security numbers where illegals can copy them down, and have hundreds of people generating payments to their retirement accounts.
Birth Certificate:Nice document but how can you prove it is your birth certificate. It has been jokingly suggested that state county recorder’s office could make a fortune issuing wallet-sized official birth certificates. The birth certificate in combination with a driver’s license might work…but one should be really careful in Maricopa County where Sheriff Joe Arpaio stalks anyone brown.
Racial profiling issues:
SB 1070 claims to ban racial profiling. If anyone really believes that I have a lot in Rio Rico for sale.
The sad fact is minorities have been subject to racial profiling in this state, and that will probably get worse if SB 1070 is allowed to go into effect, especially in Maricopa County where Sheriff Joe Arpaio has declared war on brown people. SB 1070 is really the Arpaio Illegal Alien Hunting License Law.
Most people already subject to racial profiling know the drill…be polite when a cop stops you and avoid escalating the scene to only one survivor. The ACLU issued a travel warning and advice for what to do if you are stopped.
For visitors from out of state, folks from the Middle East are indistinguishable from Hispanics in Arizona… but given a choice of being profiled as an al Queda terrorist or a Latin farm worker, if you are Middle Eastern you might want to learn a few words of Spanish to use if stopped by Arizona police.