I am saddened today at the prospect of a young Hispanic immigrant in Arizona going to the grocery store and forgetting to bring her passport and immigration documents with her. I cannot be dispassionate about the fact that the very act of her being in the grocery store will soon be a crime in the state she lives in. Or that, should a policeman hear her accent and form a "reasonable suspicion" that she is an illegal immigrant, she can -- and will -- be taken into custody until someone sorts it out, while her children are at home waiting for their dinner.Tutu assumes a legal immigrant, forgetting her documents as she goes to the store for groceries for the kiddies. Only now, with the passage of the Arizona law, does she "commit a crime" on those facts. The kiddies await mama, peering into the black night, hungry, helpless, and cold. Mama claws at the cruel cold steel bars of her cell, primal cries for justice jerked from her core.
Please. What a load of crap.
First, our LEGAL immigrant (we'll call her 'mama') has been required to keep her documents with her at all times for DECADES. Even in her home. It is Federal law.
Tutu's second BIG error; the bad, bad Arizona policeman who arrests mama in his tear-jerking melodrama never gets near mama on his facts. Unless, of course, mama gets sloppy drunk and wraps her Buick around a passing Arizonan. See, any peace officer would need "articulable suspicion" that mama is doing something illegal, as we've discussed before under "Terry stop", to even ask mama her immigration status ACCORDING TO THE LAW. Mama's accent not only isn't illegal, it isn't unusual.
So, mama has committed no crime at all under Tutu's sad little scenario. Let's say that mama's car was a rolling safety infraction, and she was stopped appropriately on her way to the grocery. Mama now apparently HAS violated Arizona laws, and the LEOs MAY check into her immigration status during their totally justified traffic stop. Unless Rev. Tutu's poor mama in this story ALSO forgot to bring her driver's license, she is good to go. No problem; though she has violated Federal law, going about without her papers, she is fine with Arizona law.
Now, suppose mama DID forget her driver's license, too. Mama MIGHT go into the back of the police car for a ride to the station. Just like me. Or you.
Change the scene a few miles to the south, into Mexico. Mama is from Ecuador, a legal immigrant in Mexico. She bops out for some vittles for the kiddies. Big problem! Mexico requires she have her papers, but unlike our federal government, Mexico is serious about immigration.
Strange, I can't recall a single word written by Rev. Tutu on the subject of Mexican immigration law. Hmmm.... Maybe Rev. Tutu should learn more, and write less until he has.