So if I’m planning on speaking Spanish in Arizona, do I need to carry my passport? Maybe my birth certificate? What if I don’t have one? Guess I’m going to jail. Doesn’t sound quite fair to me.
Gov. Jan Brewer just signed a controversial immigration bill (SB1070)that allows police to demand proof of immigration status if the officer thinks a person might be an illegal immigrant. Don’t know about you, but I don’t have that much confidence in the objectivity of individual officers. The power is so broad, it’s ridiculous.
How are the police to determine if someone “might” be an illegal immigrant? It clearly requires either racial/ethnic profiling, random application (works so well with the TSA), or universal imposition on the public. The conservatives who applaud this bill aren’t so conservative after all if they are willing to subject themselves to this kind of government intrusion.
But, of course, they don’t think it will apply to them, only those who don’t look or sound like them. The Others, if you will. Arizonans may think this is just about those “lousy illegals,” but it’s a very small step to the point where all their citizens are required to carry and produce identification on demand.
There are already several federal movements in play to require a national id. But none of these intrusive measures are going to make us any more safe or solve the illegal immigration issue. They’re only going to be used as a cudgel against immigrants and the poor and to tie one more government string around our necks.
The REAL ID program for driver license has already been implemented in Florida and has made life hell for anyone trying to renew their license or even get a replacement for a damaged license. You cannot get a driver license or state id unless you provide a certified birth certificate or passport, proof of residence, and proof of social security number. Of course, if I wasn’t a law-abiding citizen, I could produce many of these things en masse. (Check out the list of documents providing “proof.” How many could you print from your computer without even working very hard?) But many U.S. citizens would be hard-pressed to legitimately provide the required paperwork.
Sen. Charles Schumer (D-New York) and Sen. Lindsay Graham (R-South Carolina) are proposing a “high tech” national id card that would be required of anyone who wants to work in the U.S. They assure us that these new biometric cards would be “fraud-proof.” Fat chance. It’s a feel-good measure to assure the masses that the government has the situation in hand.
Why would conservatives be so trusting of the government in this one instance, one that can impact them so heavily, when they proclaim that government should take a hands off approach to everything else? If Facebook and Google can collect, store, cross-reference, use, and market your personal information through tracking cookies and volunteered information, what makes you think the government can’t come up with a way to keep tabs on you through an id that you are required to use?
Arizonans, and Americans in general, need to be careful. They might just get more than they bargained for when they get what they want.