Papers Please

One of my biggest gripes with the whole “illegal” immigrant issue is that those arguing for stronger enforcement against people born outside of this country are necessarily arguing for the establishment of a police state (which we already have so they’re really arguing for an even more tyrannical police state). In order to ensure only citizens and “legal” immigrants are in this country there needs to be a way to identify them and a way to verify their identities. That necessity leads to shit like police checkpoints where everybody has to present their papers for inspection:

The speed limit drops to 35 mph, the first warning of the upcoming checkpoint. All vehicles must stop. Drivers must use low beams. Wray pulls up along a string of neon-orange cones. “Slow down, slow down,” she says. “Hmm. I don’t see anybody. Today might be a lucky day. I don’t see anybody. Maybe they are in the car? Oh, there they are.”

A stocky uniformed man emerges from a shaded hut on the edge of the road and crosses to Wray’s window.

“How you doing?” he says, peering into the pickup.

“Doing good,” she says.

“U.S. citizens here?” the Border Patrol agent questions.

“U.S. citizens,” Wray says.

The agent nods, steps back and beckons us onward.

Wray exhales deeply, loosens her grip on the steering wheel, and presses on the gas.

A frontier war is being waged in southern Arizona, but it’s many miles north of the Mexico border. People are fed up with the immigration checkpoints. A round-the-clock U.S. Border Patrol presence at the checkpoints means that American citizens must endure inspection when they commute to work or run errands; every major road has one of these blockades.

I’m old enough to remember when people used the existence of checkpoints in the former Soviet Union as evidence that the nation was suffering under a tyrannical regime. Now we have the exact same shit here. Between citizenship checkpoints, sobriety checkpoints, and random police checkpoints setup when officers are looking for a suspect we have plenty of opportunity to emulate Soviet citizens by presenting our papers to thugs with badges. I guess checkpoints have gone from tyrannical to free now that we have them because I don’t hear as many people bringing them up as evidence of tyranny anymore.

Some people less apt to bow down to authority figures my contest the legality of these citizenship checkpoints. But Tuscon exists in the “Constitution free zone” where we have even fewer privileges than normal. In all probability these checkpoints are completely legal due to where they are because this is the land of the free.