Skip to content

The Correct Response to ‘Show Us Your Papers’

© Lee Judge



  1. Joe Walk wrote:

    too bad it only applies to citizens of the United States…

    “We the People of the United States, in Order to form a more perfect Union, establish Justice, insure domestic Tranquility, provide for the common defence, promote the general Welfare, and secure the Blessings of Liberty to ourselves and our Posterity, do ordain and establish this Constitution for the United States of America.”

    **please note** We the people of the United States… not mexico, not canada, not the Czech Republic.

    Your point is invalidated… thank you, try again…

    Wednesday, April 28, 2010 at 5:10 pm | Permalink
  2. Iron Knee wrote:

    Yeah, “We the people” — as long as you don’t look Mexican. Do you not consider Latinos to be people? Do American citizens who came here from Mexico not deserve justice, domestic tranquility, or liberty? Or are they second class citizens who should be hassled by the police and forced to prove that they are American citizens by carrying their “papers” with them at all times?

    Rather than invalidate it, you make my point even stronger. Joe, you should walk in someone else’s shoes; you’re in danger of becoming one of those racists.

    Wednesday, April 28, 2010 at 5:18 pm | Permalink
  3. Joe Walk wrote:

    Granted you do have the 14th amendment, which states (important statute only) ::

    1. All persons born or naturalized in the United States, and subject to the jurisdiction thereof, are citizens of the United States and of the State wherein they reside. No State shall make or enforce any law which shall abridge the privileges or immunities of citizens of the United States; nor shall any State deprive any person of life, liberty, or property, without due process of law; nor deny to any person within its jurisdiction the equal protection of the laws.

    So as long as you don’t round up the illegal immigrant and shoot them, or put them in a concentration camp. Arizona has not done anything illegal.

    Here’s how it will work out. You don’t have proof, you are arrested, there is a trial, and a person or persons convicted are then deported.

    Wednesday, April 28, 2010 at 5:24 pm | Permalink
  4. Iron Knee wrote:

    That is not how it will work out. You are seriously misinformed. The Supreme Court has ruled that you are not required to carry identification. See

    And read where I make the point that it would be FAR more effective if you would target employers who hire illegal immigrants. If there were no jobs, there would be no illegal immigrants.

    Wednesday, April 28, 2010 at 5:38 pm | Permalink
  5. starluna wrote:

    There are several post-WWII Supreme Court rulings that make clear that Constitutional protections apply to all persons in the U.S. Even the Korematsu case was carefully worded to apply only to war time conditions and to avoid the 5th and 14th Amendment implications.

    Wednesday, April 28, 2010 at 7:15 pm | Permalink
  6. Eric Roberts wrote:

    So why the problem with the new law passed in Arizona when the same law allready exists on the federall law books? If you are not a citizen of the US you have to have your papers on you! Should I want to go to any other county I must carry my passport on my person. This is not racism as it targets anyone who is not a US citizen equally no matter what thier ethnicity. It is federal law as well!

    Thursday, April 29, 2010 at 12:16 am | Permalink
  7. Iron Knee wrote:

    Eric, on what do you base your claim that in other countries you have to carry your passport on your person? I have lived in several other countries (England, New Zealand, Canada, and Mexico) and I was not required to carry my passport on me (nor did I). I have travelled to dozens of countries on every continent on earth (including places like Cuba, China, and Vietnam), and other than needing my passport to cross borders and exchange money, the only time I can remember I was required to carry my passport on my person was back in communist-era Bulgaria.

    I did a Google search and I couldn’t find anything about being required to carry your passport when you travel. In fact, most sites recommend that you leave it in your hotel safe and *not* carry it with you.

    But the real question is, do you carry your passport (or other proof of citizenship) with you at all times? Why not? How would you prove you are legal?

    And there is no law at the federal level that requires you to carry identification of any kind, let alone proof of citizenship.

    Thursday, April 29, 2010 at 2:13 am | Permalink
  8. starluna wrote:

    I must concur with Iron Knee on this one. I checked with some colleagues who are immigration lawyers, as well as one who is a legal scholar specializing in immigration law. There is no federal law requiring that ID be carried on all persons at all times.

    A driver’s license is required to be on a person when they are driving a vehicle. Some states require ID when they go to vote. ID is required to board an airplane and trains. I think most people find it acceptable that store clerks ask for ID when paying with a check or credit card.

    However, when I am standing on my stoop talking with my neighbors, when I take a walk to my local park, am driven to my friend’s house for a BBQ, or otherwise just out and about minding my own business, the request to prove my identity is a clear Constitutional violation. And if the request is made on the basis of my dark skin or funny accent, it is a violation of the Civil Rights Act.

    Thursday, April 29, 2010 at 8:07 am | Permalink
  9. Sammy wrote:

    Eric and Joe, honestly answer this question: If the problem was with illegal Canadians, who largely look and speak like “us”, would Washington or Montana be enacting such a law? How long would middle class white folks put up with the idea that they could be pulled over for a broken brake light, with the ulterior motive being to check citizenship status?

    Thursday, April 29, 2010 at 12:40 pm | Permalink
  10. Iron Knee wrote:

    Sammy, it is worse than you think. The OLD law was that they could be pulled over for a broken brake light, and then have their citizenship papers checked. The new law doesn’t require any such excuse — they can be pulled over for just looking suspicious (whatever that means).

    And remember that in Arizona, more than 30% of the population is latino (and that’s just the legal ones), and 13% of the population were born in another country (including John McCain!).

    Thursday, April 29, 2010 at 1:54 pm | Permalink
  11. Sammy wrote:

    IK, I’m wondering what SB1070 means by “for any lawful contact made by a law enforcement officer…where reasonable suspicion exists..” they’re given the right to ask for citizenship. But later in the same bill, it reads, “A law enforcement officer, without a warrant, may arrest a person if the officer has probable cause to believe that the person has committed any public offense that makes the person removable from the United States.”
    The two seem to contradict each other.

    Thursday, April 29, 2010 at 3:27 pm | Permalink
  12. Iron Knee wrote:

    Sammy, see

    Doesn’t answer your question exactly, but will help.

    Friday, April 30, 2010 at 12:02 am | Permalink
  13. Peter C Armstrong wrote:

    In France when I vacationed there, you were compelled to turn you US Passport over to front desk overnight along with filling out an immigration form. This is enter into visitor data bank. Again in France asked for Id by the Gendarmerie and Leigon Paratroopers in 1995 on the Avenue des Champs-Élysées. Asked Italian Carabinieri(2008) in Milan in the Piazza Castello (park) surrounding the Castello Sforzesco(Museum of Ancient Art). You by law don’t have a Id on you person , you can be detained until your indentity is confirmed.

    Sunday, May 30, 2010 at 6:45 am | Permalink
  14. Mark wrote:

    My youngest child is 3rd generation Mexican American on her mothers side. She was born in California, her mother in Idaho, her grandmother in Texas. On my side she can trace her roots to the Montauk tribe of Native Americans on Long Island. If she travels to Arizona, she better have her birth ceritficate, as she does not pass the “white test”. What about this law is equal?

    Wednesday, June 2, 2010 at 9:32 pm | Permalink
  15. Amanda wrote:

    The probem is that the law doesn’t specify what is an acceptable way to prove you are here legally. I had a legal birth certificate that showed my Dad as an Illinois born citizen and my mother as a naturalized citizen, had a legal social security card and driver’s license and I was still detained by ICE for three years for being illegal because ICE lost my adoption paper. If your BC, SS card, DL, Passport and Voter Registration cards aren’t sufficient for you to prove you are legal, America is in trouble because that’s all many American citizens like my husband have. I am a naturalized citizen now but that certificate costs $600 and I have to wait for 2 years for another copy if it is lost damaged or stolen. In that 2 years I can’t work and I can be picked up for not having it–and because I have already been picked up by ICE once for ‘being illegal’, if they pick me up again FOR ANY REASON it is automatic deportation. I have a disbled husband and an autistic son, I am the sole wage-earner in the family, we CANNOT afford for me to be deported!

    Thursday, November 3, 2011 at 10:46 am | Permalink