Alabama's draconian anti-immigration law has appropriately cleansed the state of brown-skinned immigrants, but has its enforcement gotten out of control? The recent arrest of a non-Hispanic, German Mercedes-Benz executive suggests that it has.
The unnamed executive, who is a manager with the car company, had been visiting Alabama on business and driving a rental car when police stopped him for not having a tag. He had his German identification with him, but when asked to produce a driver's license, the man told the officers that he didn't have one. He was arrested and charged for
being foreign in Alabama driving without a proper ID—a violation of Alabama's newish immigrant law—and released only after his colleague showed up at the dungeon where he was being kept and showed police his passport and other foreigner papers. The Associated Press reports that "someone in the same situation wouldn't have been arrested before the law took effect."
Back in June, when the immigration law became official, Governor Robert Bentley—seen in the photo above—boasted that it was "the strongest immigration bill in the country." When he heard about the executive's arrest, he called up Spencer Collier, the state's homeland security director, "to get details about had happened"—just like he surely does every other time someone is arrested under the law, right? I mean, he couldn't take a special interest in the executive's case because Mercedes opened a factory in Alabama and produced jobs, and because cracking down on corporate honchos looks bad from a political perspective, could he? Collier says the governor has made similar calls in the past, so don't get the wrong idea! This was just a routine check, nothing more, stop being so damned cynical about politics.
In related news, some of the Republican state senators who voted for the immigration law now want to change it—not to weaken it, though, so don't get the wrong idea again! Nah, they just want to "clarify" it. At least one Alabama mayor says that foreign companies have brought up the immigration bill after possibly learning about it from other states. Those rival states, BusinessWeek suggests, might be "trying to portray Alabama as unwelcoming to foreigners." The goal of the legislators' "clarifications" should be to reiterate that Alabama is only unwelcoming to some foreigners but not others.