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No Papers, Please...

Even as controversy rages around the nation over the new Arizona immigration law, one of our state legislators has apparently decided to try to drag Michigan into a similar fray.

Rep. Kim Meltzer, R-Clinton Township, said her bill would allow police to request proof of citizenship from people who are stopped and questioned on another offense, such as a traffic violation or selling fraudulent identity documents. Officers would have the authority to arrest people who can't prove their legal status.

I'm not quite sure what to make of this.

Don't get me wrong. I have firm thoughts about the Arizona measure: It's racist, divisive and the worst kind of nativism. I don't see how they need it in Arizona, and we sure as heck don't need a knock-off of it here. That said, the Arizona law is also a reaction to a legitimate issue that has been percolating in that part of the country for years, that is, illegal immigration.

But since when did Clinton Township become a hotbed for undocumented workers? Who's so desperate to flee their native land, to settle in Macomb County, that they're sneaking en masse past security blindspots in the Detroit-Windsor Tunnel to get to Clinton Township? How does a proposed bill like this, divorced as it is from any semblance of a real political need of people in this region, do anything but send more dog-whistle calls to knee-jerk reactionaries who want to convince themselves that their half-assed surface judgments deserve to be codified into law? How does this serve even one person who voted for this Kim Meltzer?

I can't see that it does it all. It strikes me as being reflective of phony outrage, just a sad attempt to re-make in Michigan an odious bit of red-herring legislation. Worse, while I question how seriously responsible leaders will take something like this, there's no doubt in my mind that it would be just another tool to marginalize and harass select groups. And when you consider all the very necessary work that our state lawmakers duck and dodge every day, from forging sensible taxation policies to making hard budget choices, proposals like this seem that much more of an obscene waste.

Our problem is not with people tip-toeing across borders and into metro Detroit or Michigan. If Meltzer and these other legislators really want to help, maybe they should worry more about, say, keeping jobs in the state than with keeping people out.

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  • 1

    This is ridiculous! Of course, all the illegal immigrants that sneak across the Windsor-Detroit border to find a better life in Clinton Township probably agree with me -- this is racism in one of its worst forms! I happen to be caucasian, but when a work buddy of mine (who is Black) was pulled over by Law Enforcement in the area I live in just because he was Black, I was very angry!

    Think about it, people. Except for Natives, all of us are immigrants. I'm only 2nd generation American born. We may not have ridden the plane, or stood on the deck of the boat as it steamed into New York Harbor - - but we can trace our heritages to somewhere else than America.

    Is she really doing this - or was she put up by Glenn Beck of FOX News Channel to carry this out?

    And don't let you church provide ANY KIND of help to these poor, starving, malnourished, barely clothed, individuals that have no place to stay. According to an anonymous news source on a major news network, that must remain nameless - - though their news broadcasts do tend to slide off the RIGHT side of the screen sometimes . . . If your church provides help and shelter and social services to individuals like this -- the fires of Hell are too good for you -- and you are by most bets a fascist in the Nazi regime.

  • 2

    WHAT !!! Has all of Michigan Gone Crazy???
    Wake up and smell the coffee or is it the smell of ILLEGAL ALIENS?
    Even if you perfer to call them immigrants, what part of ILLEGAL don't you understand?
    Let me help you. Try going through a red traffic light....THAT'S ILLEGAL. Same word...ILLEGAL. Only get a ticket for breaking the law, while your illegal aliens, they get all American benefits package that some of our own LEGAL CITIZENS can not get. Now....that's a free ride worth swimming for.
    So, if they are stopped for breaking a law, any law, WHY shouldn't they be asked for Legal papers? You always carry your Drivers License and other ID. Why shouldn't they? If your here by legal entry, no need to worry.
    Use you head .... think.about what you are saying.
    Kim Meltzer of Clinton Township is heading this off at the pass. Before things get out of hand. This is not a half-assed notion by any means.
    Glenn Beck is not a reason for everything the liberals don't like. Shut Up about Glenn Beck. !!!
    This is not about the people in Windsor sneaking across to stay here. Besides.....the French are WHITE. So much for your profiling.
    This is about mexicans, swiming, running, being smuggled over and dropping babies here so they can stay and SUCK UP American money and benefits as well as jobs. They don't even want to learn English and don't give a rats hind end who cares.
    The liberal news media shows a one sided view of how sad it is for these "immirgrants" who are being mistreated by us. GET REAL!!! Shut down our borders before we are over run by ungratfuls who don't respect our laws.
    If you were to go to mexico illegally (who would want to?) they put you in jail for breaking their law. Then hold you for ransom until you pay for your release.
    And idiots welcome them as they enter in their defiant, law breaking entry to our country. And burn our American flag on some half-assed mexican holiday or any other day.
    Is this really the kind of people you want here in the U.S., let anlone in Michigan?
    I don't believe we need them here.

  • 3

    I don't think we need to get all shout-y and exclamation point-y here...

    Under the Arizona law I understand that someone must be committing some kind of infraction to initiate police involvement then the likely next step will be for the cop to ask for ID. As a wayward (white) youth MANY times was I asked for ID which I produced and things continued along the normal course. Here's the thing, it should work that way for any person of any race. If you are here legally you have something saying that, I have a drivers license, which BTW is all most people will need.So if you think about it, every time you get a speeding ticket you are forced to give the cop your "papers."

    When I travel abroad I carry a passport and I keep that thing with me at all times. Many countries (ours included) have standing laws saying that you must have your papers with you. The problem with the US law is that there is no enforcement behind it. The states are taking on that enforcement now and it will likely be challenged as to the validity of their claim.

    I am curious to know, Darrell, if you have read the law and what specific issue you find racist. From my reading of it there is no specific ethnic group targeted and everyone carrying a drivers license, state ID, valid passport, or other immigration documents is fine. Am I to assume that you think there is only one race here illegally? If that is the case I must introduce you to several of my (white) polish friends all taking a chance too.

  • 4

    Our state has a long history in passing racist laws there is no doubt that our state would pass a similar law like the racist Az law...

    Macomb is not the only racist county in the state truth is this type of law will carry in all of the state's counties except for Wayne and maybe Oakland...

  • 5

    I agree - if you are here legally and have the correct forms of identification - what is the problem. I have to carry proper identification and make sure I have it every day when I leave my home.

    We need to take a closer look at the process of becoming a citizen - becoming legal. If you have ever known anyone that has gone through the process - it is a nightmare. Government both Federal and State needs to streamline the process and those that are applying need to be sure they have what they need to help the process. That does imply that they need to understand English as well.

  • 6

    Well, one thing's for sure . . . grammar errors and all, detroitkid51 certainly does express the attitude of a lot of people in this area well.

    Detroitkid51, why don't we drive down to Mexican Town and hold a rally in Clark Park. You can be the speaker!

    You're (and that's the proper spelling and grammar if you want it to mean 'you are') very condescending to people from other countries. Yes, folks from other countries may celebrate holidays that we as Americans don't, but it doesn't mean ours are "better" than theirs or vice-versa. It just means we celebrate different holidays!

    Yes...I am WHITE...and being second generation American, our family was quite indigenous. I will grant you this: we observed customs, holidays, and practices at home that we did not do publicly. And, I must confess that one should be "legal" as - as much as they can be. And I do have to agree with the blogger that commented that he always keeps his Driver's License with him at all times to identify him as someone that's "okay to be in America".

    If you do try to hide your racism, you don't do it very well. And - - certain people and cultural groups will be targeted! That's something we can count on!

    I guess until you have lived "racial profiling" (like I have as a "drunk Irish boy that only knows how to fight"), you can't empathize. And besides, just for trivia -- you know all those Korean kids that work the booths at Cedar Point? They do it because the American-born kids feel it beneath them and it doesn't pay enough.

    Who would be your housekeeper and gardener if all the illegal aliens were deported? Do you think Americans are going to work for that kind of money?

    If all the "illegals" in the Detroit area were rounded up and deported, the population would drop by half.

    • 6.1

      Rev, I understand and can sympathize with your point that this country relies on illegal immigrants. I ask you, does something simply being the status quo make it right? I don't think you are coming from a place of advocating no change. Every person in the US deserves to be treated with dignity, every person in the US should also be here legally, if not they should be shown the door in a just and dignified way - they should also be offered a way back as a means of saying "Hey if you care about this place and want it so bad, great, let's make you legal and give you some pride and let you contribute"

    • 6.2

      additionally, my apologies for my own grammatical errors above...

  • 7


  • 8

    Okay, folks. If you were stopped for speeding, could you prove you're a citizen? I know I couldn't. I know exactly where my birth certificate is, and it's not in my wallet. Now I'm fairly light-skinned so I doubt I'd be hassled in a traffic stop (but you never know - this law would be a great excuse for traffic cops to hassle anyone they just take a dislike to), but that's the point. Laws like this just codify the crime of driving while dark-skinned.

    • 8.1

      yes, I would hand them my drivers license, that is one of the forms of identification listed in the law. You have to be here legally to get a valid license. For this law to "codify the crime of driving while dark-skinned" it would have to actually say that in the law. I am going to assume you are talking about the part where the law says that if there is a reasonable expectation that they are here illegally. There is an opening for this to be abused, as there is in many laws and it is up to us as citizens to be a watchdog against abuses. However, in a traffic situation I don't think it's unreasonable to show a drivers license.

  • 9

    What is Ms. Meltzer's ethnic background? Meltzer does not sound like a Native American Indian to me. Her actions are nothing more than blatant racism. Good and decent people in her district, please, work hard to throw her out of office.

  • 10

    niajaxord ~ ~ you express it very beautifully! You've expressed wonderfully the things I'm feeling, but grasped at words to say!

    Also, detroitblues ~ ~ I am with you 100% What I don't get is how folks (like the commentators on the FOX News Channel) like Ms. Meltzer can do their jobs and not bust out laughing at the siliness of what they propose? Everyone agrees there is a problem -- but the solution to the problem is NOT to treat people like dirt!

    What's next? K-9 attack dogs and water that is extremely pressured from firemen's water hoses sprayed at "illegals"? No...wait...that was already done. To people that were supposed to be EQUAL but somehow were SEPARATE. Under a Constitution that read "all are created equal?"

    Doesn't that mean anything? How can you take away something from someone and not expect something to be taken away from you?


  • 11

    I can't see that it does it all. It strikes me as being reflective of phony outrage, just a sad attempt to re-make in Michigan an odious bit of red-herring legislation.

  • 12

    Here to work
    There exists a barely veiled racial animus in the current political discourse to enact harsh anti-immigrant laws like that which was recently established in the state of Arizona.

    America deserves to legitimately protect its borders from malefactors. However, most undocumented immigrants currently here are not here to harm any other persons, nor are they here to "steal" jobs from otherwise employable American citizens. These people are here to work and support themselves, their families and their communities.

    America must remember its own collective immigrant histories and not succumb to the xenophobia and racism that define much of today's conservative culture, and the mainstream of the Republican Party in particular.

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