Commentary on Alabama Law and Society

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Location: Birmingham, Alabama

Tuesday, April 04, 2006

Driving While Mexican

The Montgomery Advertiser reports that Bob Riley is trying to get more state troopers trained to arrest illegal immigrants.

When I saw the headline, my first question was why not get more troopers trained to keep the eighteen wheelers from averaging 200 miles an hour on our interstates? The second question was whether we are going to add to the offenses of driving while drunk and driving while black the offense of driving while Mexican. However, it sounds like this program is federally funded and just explains procedures for turning incidentally discovered immigrants over to the feds; it's not using state resources, nor is it a special investigative program.

Still, the Governor's rationale for the program is interesting. He says "when they get this training, they are able to arrest illegal aliens, and that strengthens our nation's homeland security." Really? How, exactly?

You hear all sorts of reasons for cracking down on immigrants. They bring drugs into the country. They drive down wages. They are unclean. They listen to funny music. They play soccer. The national security one, I think, is the most dubious. How many of the 9/11 terrorists were Hispanic? How many Guantanamo residents are from Mexico? And if all you mean by strengthening homeland security is preventing normal crimes, then where is the evidence that immigrants commit more crimes than do official citizens?

I guess all I am saying is that if you don't like Hispanics, just say you don't like Hispanics. Or else give me some facts to support your argument that they really do cause a problem.