Saturday, April 24, 2010

Show me your papers

show me your papersI am a small government Republican. As such, I am opposed to the nanny state. I don’t want a safety net that protects people from the consequences of their actions. If I rode a motorcycle and wanted to be stupid and ride without a helmet, I don’t want the government requiring me to wear a helmet. I don’t want womb to tomb government welfare programs. I want some people to excel and others to fail. I want it to still be possible to get rich in America. I don't want government taking money I earn and giving it to someone else. I reject the notion that if it moves we must regulate it and tax it. I want less bureaucracy and lower taxes.

Also, however, being a small government Republican means I don’t want a police state. I don’t want the government reading my email or listening in on my phone conversations without a warrant issued for probable cause. I support the “right of the people to be secure in their persons, houses, papers, and effects, against unreasonable searches and seizures.” I don’t want the government pressuring my employer to make be pee in a cup to insure I have not been smoking marijuana. I don’t want the government keeping track of what library books I read or websites I visit. I don’t want the police beating confessions out of suspects. I like "innocent until proven guilty." I don't even want cameras catching me running red lights.

This week Arizona passed an anti-illegal immigration bill. This bill would require law enforcement officers to investigate, detain and arrest people if there is ‘reasonable suspicion’ that a person may be undocumented. It would give state and local police the power to detain people who cannot prove their citizenship or legal right to be in the country.

Unfortunately, many conservatives are applauding this law. I don’t know about you, but I don’t carry a passport or a birth certificate. Many Americans don't have passports. We do not have a form of national ID and I don't want one. With fifty states, each with their own design for birth certificates and with birth certificates easily forgeable, I am not sure that a birth certificate proves citizenship. This bill gives too much authority to the police.

I don’t want America to become a nation where the police stop you and make you show your papers. I like the idea that the police can’t stop you without probable cause. I want a government that fears the people, not people who fear the government. I don’t want America to become a nation where you must “show me your paper.”

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  1. According to what I've read, a driver's license will suffice to prove legal status.

  2. how about when terorism becoming bigger and bigger??? Did we need paper to show our id for security purpose??

  3. As a blogger from the left, there are a lot of times that Rod and I disagree and I can find various things I disagree with in this blog post. However, the idea of police being able to demand a person's papers is something that I think people on both the right and the left should object to.

    This whole 'reasonable suspicion' really bothers me. What is a reasonable suspicion? Last summer Bob Dylan was arrested for 'suspicious activity'. He took a walk in a neighborhood near where he was going to perform a concern later in the evening. If I recall the details, he did not have any 'papers' on him, so the arresting officer, a young woman who didn't even know who Bob Dylan was, dragged him in and was strongly ridiculed.

    A few years ago, my daughter had a friend dragged in for not having papers. He was only fifteen at the time and wasn't even old enough to have a drivers license. His 'suspicious activity'? He was a black youth visiting a classmate in a mostly white section of town.

    Do I go out without my papers sometimes? Not very often anymore, since I live in an area where I have to drive to get anywhere, but when I lived closer to the center of town, I would often go for a walk without carrying my drivers license. Of course, I'm a fifty year old white male, so I'm less likely to be confused for someone that is undocumented.

    What is also disturbing is that anyone who helps an undocumented person can also be retained. So, if I give a ride to church to my Hispanic cleaning lady, who is a U.S. Citizen, but she doesn't have her papers on her on her way to church, I could get dragged in also.

    No, we do need meaningful immigration reform. Rod and I may disagree with what this reform might be, but I'm in agreement that any law that requires everyone to carry their papers and everyone else not to help anyone who isn't carrying their papers is really a bad law.

  4. Usually upon reading this blog I find myself in disagreement. I don't support democracy, and I generally am pro-welfare and all that. But this is one of those rare occasions I agree with the writer.

    The danger of a 'reasonable suspicion' clause is that it can sometimes be left up to the decision of the officer at the scene whether the person is suspicious or not. This becomes an issue of the officer holds prejudices towards certain races, religions or nationalities.

    Fortunately, in Ireland, we have a national Age Card, which usually suffices as some form of ID in most situations, even though all it has is a name, picture and DOB. In Ireland, this might not be too much to worry about. But in America, where such a card does not exist and most people have no reason to walk around carrying their ID or passport on them, it becomes a problem.

    It's a worrying thought that this actually became a law in a state, despite the dangerous precedent it sets.

  5. I feel your pain, Rod, but it seems that profiling is all that we have at our disposal.

    If the United States Congress, with the concurrence of my opponent, Zach Wamp, had not transgressed constitutionally yet again and made the Patriot Act permanent, people like us would have little about which to be concerned. I actually agree with every point you make to argue your premise, it is just that the premise itself is what I believe to be flawed. We are a nation of laws and not of men.

    Given that neo-Marxists and co-conspirator, statist Republicans like Lindsay Grahamnesty have decided to accord greater liberties to illegals and terrorists than they do our own citizens, states and citizens alike have become desperate to steer bureaucrats in the right direction.

    It is likely that our sociopath-in-chief will issue an executive order nullifying the whole thing anyhow. However, there is going to be hell to pay in November.