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Not Backing Metcalfe on This One Either

As a civil libertarian, I have some real issues with what Daryl Metcalfe is trying to bring to Pennsylvania. This sounds great, but the only way to do this kind of thing in a racially neutral way is to have everyone prove immigration status if there’s some reasonable suspicion. Imagine the following traffic stop:

“What the problem then officer? I don’t think I was doing over 100k an hour”

“License, registration and proof of insurance, please.”

“Let me get it oot of the glove box then, eh.”

“Sir, I’m going to have to ask to provide some proof or documentation that you’re in the country legally.”

“OK officer, here’s my Minnesota drivers’ license, registration and proof of insurance.”

“I have reasonable suspicion that you’re an illegal Canadian sir. I’m going to have to ask you step out of the vehicle.”

“But I’m from Minnesota.”

“You sound like a Canadian sir. We’re going to have to sort this out downtown.”

I am by no means in favor of amnesty for illegal aliens, nor against increased border protection, I don’t favor “haven cities,” and definitely not against cracking down on human smuggling. But I do not wish to turn the United States into an “Ihre Unterlagen, bitte.” police state in order to not really fix the problem.

I don’t agree with Dayln Leach on much, but I agree with him on this. It’s disturbing to me that so many lawmakers who recognize importance of the Right to Keep and Bear Arms as an important individual liberty don’t also recognize the basic right to a presumption of innocence by the government. That’s not just a right for the fair skinned. It’s a right of all people.

18 Responses to “Not Backing Metcalfe on This One Either”

  1. Danno says:

    Arizona’s law would have ended this conversation after producing a driver’s license:

    http://www.azleg.gov/FormatDocument.asp?inDoc=/legtext/49leg/2r/laws/0113.htm
    11-1051 (B) “…A PERSON IS PRESUMED TO NOT BE AN ALIEN WHO IS UNLAWFULLY PRESENT IN THE UNITED STATES IF THE PERSON PROVIDES TO THE LAW ENFORCEMENT OFFICER OR AGENCY ANY OF THE FOLLOWING:

    1. A VALID ARIZONA DRIVER LICENSE….”

  2. Sebastian says:

    What if they present a California drivers’ license?

  3. Danno says:

    (B)(4) covers that:
    4. IF THE ENTITY REQUIRES PROOF OF LEGAL PRESENCE IN THE UNITED STATES BEFORE ISSUANCE, ANY VALID UNITED STATES FEDERAL, STATE OR LOCAL GOVERNMENT ISSUED IDENTIFICATION.

    Does CA require proof of citizenship for a driver’s license? There was some noise a while back about giving drivers licenses to illegals but I don’t know if it actually went through.

  4. Matthew Carberry says:

    The way to catch a suspected Canadian is for the officer to casually ask if they can “look in your boot”.

    If the answer is anything but a “Look in my what?” it’s a Canadian. ;)

    I do agree that to get a government ID of any kind one should have to provide proof of legal residency. At that point, presentation of the ID in relation to a legal traffic stop would meet the presumption of legality. Sure ID’s can be faked, but I doubt all, much less most, illegals would go to that length.

  5. Sebastian,

    It appears that you’re falling in line with all of the other pro-illegal immigration naysayers by opposing this bill, for it seems like it will be identical to AZ’s – a law that, as folks have read it, isn’t a Nazi incursion at all.

    Now, in saying that immigration enforcement is the job of the federal government, Leach is right ….. but that’s the rub; the feds aren’t enforcing the immigration laws we’ve got. In that case, a state can only start policing it’s sovereign borders itself. And the best way to do that is to codify federal requirements into the state code, so that state and local law enforcement can concurrently enforce immigration laws.

    Move along ….. nothing to see here.

  6. Sebastian says:

    The problem with the bill is that, applied uniformly and fairly, it would require everyone to show identification. The standard here is for a lawful encounter, not stop or arrest. A lawful encounter could be an officer talking to you, which is legal as long as a reasonable person feels like he was free to end the encounter and leave. A stop has a higher legal standard for a law enforcement official to execute. An arrest requires probable cause.

    I would support checking for documentation upon arrest, and thanks to the Supreme Court, you can arrest someone for a traffic infraction. But a stop I’m less sure about, and any lawful contact I’m completely against.

  7. Sebastian says:

    sorry, not show identification, carry identification, and presumably produce it upon a lawful encounter.

  8. Dave R. says:

    First, the law on its face provides there must be an initial “lawful contact.” Could be an arrest, could be a routine traffic stop, but there is flatly no provision for random or targeted stops to “check for papers.” And if you do get stopped for something else and don’t have your wallet on you, they don’t immediately crate you up and shove you out the back of a cargo plane over Mexico, they call the feds to check your name to see if you’re legal or not. Likely this will cost a few minutes of some hispanic citizens’ time somewhere, but that’s about the end of it. Unlike “Ihre Unterlagen, bitte” nobody’s being taken away to the gas chambers, which I always thought was a not insignificant part of the objection to the German implementation of checking people’s papers.

    Second, there are possibly 20 million or more illegal immigrants in the country, and they’re disproportionately hispanic. Nothing that impacts illegal immigration is going to be “racially neutral.” An ideology committed to racial neutrality above all else leaves us in the position of being unable to distinguish between a guy with an American accent and id and another guy with poor or no English and no id just because the first guy might be white and the second guy might be brown.

    If civil libertarians are determined to go down this road, more people are going to start asking what I’ve just started thinking, which is, “what’s so absolutely wrong with disparate impact per se?” I don’t mean discrimination in hiring or pay or even personal association, but “discrimination” with no other negative payoff except the normal application of a just law they are subject to anyway. Where’s the problem?

  9. Sebastian says:

    Lawful contact is a very loose standard. A cop asking you what time it is is lawful contact. And arrest and a stop are particular legal terms, that have a more precise definition, and require a elevated standards of cause for the event to be legal. What Arizona has essentially done here is allowed officers to make any lawful contact into a stop.

    Actually, it looks like Arizona revised the statute to remove that language. Given that, I think it removes many of my objections. The question is, does Metcalfe’s bill carry that change? Or does it still use the original “lawful contact” standard?

  10. David says:

    It amazes me how this is blown out of all proportion and is some how compared to Germany during the 30s with the “Your Papers Please” reference. As George Will said on “This Week” on Sunday, all this law does is take what is already a misdemeanor crime under federal law and makes it a state crime.

    Title 8 of the U.S. Code. Section 1304e requires that “every alien, eighteen years of age and over, shall at all times carry with him and have in his personal possession any certificate of alien registration or alien registration receipt card issued to him.” Those who fail to comply will be guilty of a misdemeanor and will be fined $100 and can be imprisoned up to 30 days.

    Section 1306a says that, “Any alien required to apply for registration and to be fingerprinted in the United States who willfully fails or refuses to make such application or to be fingerprinted, and any parent or legal guardian required to apply for the registration of any alien who willfully fails or refuses to file application for the registration of such alien shall be guilty of a misdemeanor and shall, upon conviction thereof, be fined not to exceed $1,000 or be imprisoned not more than six months, or both.”

    If I go to Mexico and am 15 miles inside the border, according to the U.S. Emabasy web site, I had better have my passport with me. Aliens in this country must do the same.

    I spoke with a Phoenix police officer this week while attending a conference and he told me, it is not as portrayed by Obama that a Hispanic family out having ice cream has to now worry about proving he is here legally. They are to follow this procedure in the course of their duties (traffic stops, responding to calls etc). If for instance they are stopped for speeding, and are asked for license, car registration, and proof of insurance, and cannot produce one or more, that would trigger the additional probe. He said the police have much more important things to do than stop every Hispanic on the street simply because they are Hispanic.

    Having said all of this, Arizona has a major problem. Phoenix is (or is becoming) the kidnapping capital of the nation. It is a major route for human trafficking (something I have to monitor as part of my day job) dispersing foreign nationals from south of the border to other points in the country from California to New York and they are tired of the federal government not doing their job.

  11. Xrlq says:

    Sebastian:

    What if they present a California drivers’ license?

    Same result as an AZ license. The only licenses that would NOT qualify under Subsection B(4) are licenses from Hawaii, Maine, Michigan, New Mexico, Oregon and Washington, or the specially designated illegal alien licenses from Utah.

  12. Sterling Archer says:

    I actually wrote to Rep. Metcalfe this morning to show my support for this legislation:

    Rep. Metcalfe,

    I am a resident of Delaware County and I wanted to tell you that I enthusiastically support your proposed bill aimed at Illegal Immigration. Everyone I have spoken to (even extreme liberals) agree with Arizona’s new law. Illegals have broken our laws, committed countless crimes, depressed wages and drained scarce public resources that rightly belong to taxpaying citizens. They need to go. The Federal government’s primary role under the Constitution is defense of the borders. They have failed miserably in this task. It is time for the States to pick up the ball.

    I am going to contact my state rep. and ask him to support you on this issue. I am not expecting him to do so because he (Bryan Lentz) puts politics before the Constitution and his constituents. At the very least he will hear my opinion.

    Public opinion is on your side. Don’t believe the media spin. Keep up the fight.

    Respectfully,

  13. Sebastian says:

    Sorry, I’m not willing to blindly support Daryl Metcalfe or anyone. I would hope gun owners would have some skepticism of government intentions, even on an issue like this. Depressing wages is never a reason to piss on someone’s civil liberties.

  14. Xrlq says:

    Of course not, but WTF kind of “civil liberty” does anyone have to invade another country? We Americans would never claim that right against any other nation, why on earth should be cede it to those who invade us?

  15. Sebastian says:

    Well, now that they’ve removed the worst of the language, I’m treading on thin ice here, admittedly, when it comes to Arizona. But Metcalfe was on this bus before Arizona made changes.

  16. Sterling Archer says:

    Estimates of illegal immigrants in this country range from 12 to 30 million. We are being INVADED!!! They have a term for it: The Reconquest. We have to nip this in the bud now before our cities and counties are overrun with gangs like MS-13. I fear it is already too late. The Mexican government has made it a policy to ship the criminal class up north so that we can deal with them.

    There may come a point in the near future when we kick ourselves for not having done more to stop this insanity and harsher measures may have to be taken to ensure the survival of our national culture.

    As for civil liberties, I am not a lawyer but in my opinion civil liberties are reserved for citizens and LEGAL guests. They know that they are committing a crime by crossing the border illegally. I have been asked for my documentation when I have traveled through Europe. It never bothered me to produce my passport because it is their law. It is already U.S. law that foreigners must carry documentation.

    Believe me, I understand the slippery slope argument better than anyone. No one trusts government less than me but in my opinion this type of legislation is long overdue. The law in Arizona is already working. The Mexican government is telling illegals to avoid Arizona. There are reports that illegals are already leaving the state in droves. I would say that Arizona’s new law has done more in one week than any border fence could possibly do.

    I don’t wish harm on anyone but making PA an unattractive place for illegals is positive all around. They can then move to a more liberal and inviting state like New Jersey making it more of a hell-hole than it already is:)

  17. Jake says:

    Even the new language for Arizona’s law makes me uncomfortable. Considering that it’s estimated the average person commits three felonies a day, how hard do you think it is for a cop to come up with a reason to “stop, detain, or arrest” someone they don’t like?

    Also, I’m from Minnesota and living in Virginia, and I’ve been mistaken for a Canadian before. That makes the example you quoted quite chilling.

    Consider every law as if it were to be enforced by your worst enemy.

  18. Ian Argent says:

    I gave this some thought (and have a proto-post going into more detail) and the problem I have with this can’t be fixed by limiting *when* the cops can ask for ID. Furthermore, this has (negative) implications for gun rights. Let’s say that allowing a state to presume something unless you have documentation to prove otherwaise is a Bad Idea. (And, you know, probably unconstitutional it’s own self; under presumption of innocence).

    (Yes, I know this smacks of Fermat’s Last Comment; but at a full page worth of RTF for just the core, I’d rather make it a post rather than a comment)

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