With nativism and xenophobia on the rise, Americans are increasingly required to "prove" that they are actually Americans: whether it's at a border checkpoint (far from any border), or in a government office. Read the rest
Ana Suda and her friend, Mimi Hernandez, were born in the United States. They live in Montana. On early Wednesday morning they went grocery shopping. A uniformed Border Patrol agent heard them speaking Spanish to each other and demanded to see their identification. When they asked him if they were being racially profiled he said, “Ma’am, the reason I asked you for your ID is because I came in here, and I saw that you guys are speaking Spanish, which is very unheard of up here. It’s the fact that it has to do with you guys speaking Spanish in the store, in a state where it’s predominantly English-speaking." He detained the women in the store's parking lot for 35 to 40 minutes before letting them go.
When the Washington Post contacted US Border Patrol for a response, a spokesperson said, “U.S. Customs and Border Protection agents and officers are committed to treating everyone with professionalism, dignity and respect while enforcing the laws of the United States. Although most Border Patrol work is conducted in the immediate border area, agents have broad law enforcement authorities and are not limited to a specific geography within the United States. They have the authority to question individuals, make arrests, and take and consider evidence.”
Today, the US State Department published a notice in the Federal Register seeking comment on a plan to require 15,000,000+ foreigners who get a US visitor visa to disclose all their social media identities as a condition of entry. Read the rest
A transit officer in Minneapolis, whose main job is to ask "Tickets, please!", was filmed May 14 wanting "Papers, please!".
The video posted on Facebook on May 20 has over 1 million views. In the clip, the officer asks the man, “Do you have a state ID?” The man appears to shake his head no.
“Are you here illegally?” the officer asks next.
Morales then intervenes and asks the officer, “Are you guys authorized to act as immigration police?”
“No, not necessarily,” the officer says.
Morales tells the officer, “Then I would stay out of that. It’s very touchy legal territory.”
After the video went viral, Metro Transit Police Chief John Harrington released a statement assuring travelers it was not Metro policy to inquire about immigration status and promising an investigation.
“It is the policy of the Metro Transit Police Department that all members make personal and professional commitments to equal enforcement of the law and equal service to the public. Confidence in this commitment will increase the effectiveness of this department in protecting and serving the entire community and recognizing the dignity of all persons, regardless of their immigration status.”
Never trust someone wearing a shiny badge: they think they have all the other ones, too. Read the rest
When Congress passed the 2005 Real ID act -- mandating easy sharing (and intrinsic insecurity) -- of driver's license data, they insisted compliance by states with the rules would be voluntary. Read the rest
In London today, members of the UK Border Agency were stopping people of color at various tube stations and demanding that they show identity papers. Several eyewitnesses confirmed that the patrol officers were singling out brown people, that they were intimidating in demeanor, and that they threatened to arrest passers-by who asked what was going on. At least one officer is reported to have removed his badge number. This comes as the UKBA began to blitz London's neighbourhoods with vans threatening undocumented migrants with arrest and deportation and exhorting them to turn themselves in. Read the rest
Neetzan Zimmerman at Gawker: "T. J. Holmes was one mile from his Atlanta home when he was suddenly pulled over by two police cars. The normally affable CNN anchor proceeded to live-tweet the stop, getting progressively angerier with every status update." Read the rest