And I don’t think it’s because I’m a terrible comic (although that’s open to interpretation) but because people in general don’t really grasp what the law implies.
As a South American immigrant with a very paranoid Latina mother, I’ve lived with the fear of “show me your papers” most of my life.
Despite, being white and well assimilated (like a borg), I’ve carried my Social Security card and passport since I became a citizen.
Just last month, I was working on a film set and the consent form said, “Please provide proof of citizenship.” I panicked a little because I forgot my passport. As soon as I handed my paperwork to the agent, he looked me over and said,”Obviously, you were born in America…”
Obviously… What? No, that’s not a taco in my pocket.
Of course, the worst that could happen in this scenario is that I don’t get to be an extra on Louie— not deportation. Thanks to assumption, I had the honor of being pushed by Parker Posey for six or seven takes.
I get the sense the average non-brown American thinks this law doesn’t affect them, even though people born in the U.S. probably have less proof of being here legally than an immigrant. However, anyone can be an immigrant, legal or otherwise.
If police can ask for your papers, you might be needing some papers– and then it’s hello Blade Runner (only these robots dream of electric green-cards). While there are federally mandated ID standards, there is no federally-mandated ID. Opponents of such an ID often cite police states and Nazi Germany.
As an immigrant, I already feel weird. I fear this law intimidates people who already feel unwanted, not just immigrants, but Americans who happen to look a certain way. It reinforces the idea that we don’t belong, when indeed, we do.
Every American, regardless of race or background, can relate to feeling weird, isolated and unwanted. Imagine that same feeling, but with the threat of arrest.
That is not the direction we should be going.
Happy July 4!
Elise Roedenbeck blogs relentlessly at EliseRoedenbeck.com. Don’t judge.