Saturday, July 31, 2010

The Canadian Snowbird in Arizona

A rusting mini-van with foreign license plates sits stopped in a Phoenix home-improvement store parking lot. Inside is an elderly man who is chatting through the van's open window with several men wearing work clothes, who are standing in a small group in the lot.

Along comes a police officer who breaks up the conversation to question the van's driver. "Sir, may I see your license please".

"Sure," says the grey-haired man, who digs the requested card out of his wallet.

"Sir, this is not an Arizona-issued document. I also see that you have plates that also are not Arizona issue. Can you explain."

The man replies "I'm from British Columbia".

"Where in Mexico is that?"

"It's actually in Western Canada."

"Then why were you speaking Spanish?" The officer asks, becoming less polite.

"To communicate better with these young men. I spend a lot of time in Mexico, in fact, I've been granted Permanent Residency there, so have picked up the language."

The officer peaks through the window into the back of the vehicle, where there is a pile of floor tile and grout. "I see you have been purchasing home improvement supplies. Are you planning on exporting them to Canada or Mexico?"

"Neither. Last Fall I bought a condo here in Phoenix, where my daughter lives. I'm doing some fix-ups. I live here in the winter."

"You LIVE here? Sir, I have reason to suspect you are here illegally. You were speaking Spanish, and attempting to pick up day-laborers who you should suspect are also here illegally, which is also a crime. Not to mention your outfit is strange for Arizona - nobody here wears short pants and a T-shirt when it is 40 degrees. I am required by the articles of SB 1070 for these reasons to determine your legal status."

The old man raises his eyebrows and replies "Well here's my Canadian passport, and my Mexican ID, if that helps, but I was just asking for directions..."

"Sir, Arizona law SB 1070 makes it illegal for you to be in Arizona without immigration papers. Without federal-issued documentation, and a lack of Arizona Driver License, I am required to take you to jail until your status becomes determined by a federal authority. You will be required to pay for the jail time until such time, plus a minimum $500 fine. This vehicle will be confiscated, and impounded as evidence. You will be deported if it is found you do not have legal status."

"But I'm a TOURIST!"

"Sir, you claimed you live here, and have not produced a travel Visa which you would have if you are really a tourist."

"Actually, Canadians are exempt from having Visas, officer!" The old man states.

"Sir, don't make me add 'resisting' arrest to your charges. SB 1070 does not make special provisions for Canadians. We are to treat all immigrant aliens equally, not based on race or country of origin. Step out of the vehicle, please."


The above story is a (admittedly a bad) work of fiction, but it is a scenario that really could happen based on the way the controversial Arizona SB 1070 is written. I really hope that the provisions of the law that were stricken out by Judge Bolton are not placed back on the November appeal. I fear for my father (the very real snowbird with the mini-van) and all other tourists from out-of-state, and also for all legal immigrants, especially if they "look or act like an illegal alien."

We need immigration reform and badly. But SB 1070 is not the answer. I beg all Arizonans and visitors to Arizona to plead with Governor Jan Brewer to not appeal the provisions that were struck down as being unconstitutional. We do not need Arizona to be a "police state". I hate being political in a blog, but this is a very important issue which is close to my heart. Arizona is financially broke and doesn't need to lose any more much-needed tourist dollars! 

Arizona immigration law SB 1070 - Judge blocks some sections

This legal immigrant will get off the soap-box now. Please take a look at the cute puppy on the right of the page, and have a great day!

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