Police

If I Lived in Arizona, They Could Seize My Car

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Scanning quickly through the text of Arizona's new immigration law to see how many provisions I have already violated in various jurisdictions, I came upon this:

A.  It is unlawful for a person to:

1.  Transport or move or attempt to transport or move an alien in this state, in furtherance of the illegal presence of the alien in the United States, in a means of transportation if the person knows or recklessly disregards the fact that the alien has come to, has entered or remains in the United States in violation of law. […]

B.  A means of transportation that is used in the commission of a violation of this section is subject to mandatory vehicle immobilization or impoundment pursuant to section 28-3511.

Coulda lost a lot of crappy cars through that one.

I have also "knowingly employ[ed] an unauthorized alien," and "intentionally employ[ed] unauthorized aliens" (or at least, I had a pretty good idea that the dudes in front of Home Depot had a non-trivial chance of being "unauthorized"). Speaking of which, "unauthorized" is my new favorite illegal/undocumented term of art.

Good luck, Arizona!

The Arizona law also goes specifically after the Home Depot effect, prohibiting "a person who is unlawfully present in the United States and who is an unauthorized alien to knowingly apply for work, solicit work in a public place or perform work as an employee or independent contractor in this state." Those of us on the demand side, however, are merely forbidden "to hire or hire and pick up passengers for work at a different location if the motor vehicle blocks or impedes the normal movement of traffic," though one could argue that any temp-worker location by definition places the burden of proof on employers to demonstrate that the hired help has the right papers.

Read the whole law, and confess your crimes!

I copped to being both an illegal immigrant and employer thereof in our October 2008 issue, where you can also find the following relevant pieces:

* "The One Man Wall: How a single Arizona legislator's obsession has changed immigration policy for the worse," by Kerry Howley.

* "Get in Line! Will Americans have to prove their right to work via an error-plagued database?", by Kerry Howley.

* "What Part of Legal Immigration Don't You Understand?", by Shikha Dalmia, Mike Flynn, and Terry Colon.

* "Who Killed Real ID? An unlikely coalition wins a post-9/11 victory for civil liberties," by David Weigel. Alas, this last one is feeling more premature by the minute.

NEXT: Health Care Cost Control? Don't Count On It.

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  1. So, Lonewhacko finally found a home.

  2. Yes Matt, I also jaywalk on a daily basis, speed above the speed limit, and break other sorts of laws all the time.

    But I don’t brag about it to voice my displeasure at the stupidity of said laws.

    If you really want to see increased opportunities for immigrants in the US to be legal citizens, then we need wider gates and taller fences. This is a realistic goal that I think the majority of the US agrees with. Instead of the all or nothing approach, why not try supporting this?

    There is no point in having a gate if we don’t have a fence to begin with.

    1. Who’s bragging? I would prefer to live in a world where my peaceful economic transactions and acts of friendship were nobody’s business, but governments keep making them illegal.

      1. You weren’t bragging when you “copped to being both an illegal immigrant and employer thereof”?

        You want to “live in a world where my peaceful economic transactions and acts of friendship were nobody’s business” and so do I. But there are productive ways to limit the governments intervention in said activities, and there are non-productive ways.

        Arguing that we should tear down our borders and let in whoever wants in is both non-productive and unrealistic.

        Arguing that we should allow more people in to the US legally through “wider gates” is far more likely to help with achieving your intended goal. And it isn’t unrealistic. Again, I believe that most Americans would agree that increasing the number of people allowed in legally to the US every year is a productive way of decreasing the problems associated with illegal immigration.

        1. No, I wasn’t bragging. I was using personal testimony in an attempt to drag a frequently abstract discussion into the rocky shores of reality. And as I wrote in the column I linked to, immigration enthusiasts like me ignore the flouting of the rule of law at our peril.

          I actually have never made (to my recollection) the argument to “tear down our borders.”

          1. So if you aren’t arguing for open borders, what exactly is your point?

            Are you arguing that we should increase legal immigration quotas or are you arguing that we should let everyone in who wants in? Or are you arguing that we shouldn’t have such a thing as “citizenship” thus making immigration a moot point?

            All I see is you bragging boasting that you hired illegal immigrants. Congratulations.

            What’s your solution? What will make it easier for employers to hire the help they need? What will be more likely to achieve the goal of a “world where my peaceful economic transactions and acts of friendship were nobody’s business”?

            I see the same problems that you do, and I don’t deny they exist, but I have proposed a solution I think many people would support. What’s your answer?

            1. Open borders does not mean no borders, nor does it mean tear down the borders.

              Open borders simply means that people should be free to migrate unless they can be individually proven to be actually harmful — i.e., foreign agents, terrorists, violent felons, carriers of contagion.

              I’d note that you’d stop such people at state borders, too, if it made sense to check there.

              1. unless they can be individually proven to be actually harmful

                Ah. So I guess we just ask them on the way in- “are you a foreign agent, terrorists, violent felon, or carrier of contagion?” and hope for the best?

                That’s kinda what we do already. I’m just arguing we increase the number we let in legally every year. I’m not arguing we simply unlock the gates.

                1. No, we’d check his health, we’d check his criminal record, we’d trust his lack of foreign agency, and we’d run him against the usual terrorist suspects.

                  Two weeks on the outside. Yes, he might want to do this at a consulate rather than at the border.

            2. At the risk of explaining the obvious, I am suggesting in the narrow confines of this blog post that threatening vehicle impoundment for people who knowingly give rides to illegal immigrants is bad policy.

              Since the blog post isn’t about Matt Welch’s 10-Point Immigration Plan, I’ll leave that for another day, but for sure such a thing would involve vastly increasing the number of visas for the kinds of unskilled workers who most frequently break our current lousy immigration laws.

              1. threatening vehicle impoundment for people who knowingly give rides to illegal immigrants is bad policy.

                Agreed. So what is your solution? What do we do with the car and driver that transports illegal aliens across the border and dumps them off in Arizona? We can’t threaten to impound it?

                The reason Arizona passed this law is precisely because the Federal government has no answer to these questions, and the problems are becoming large enough to force the state governments hand.

                People seem to think that this is an unjustified move on the part of Arizona, but few states have to deal with immigration flaws on the level that they do.

                1. Actually, the feds can stop any car within 50 miles of the border & check for papers of anyone in it. I wouldn’t be surprised (though I don’t know) if they had some impound authority as well.

                  What I’m talking about is people giving rides home to their illegal immigrant babysitters. Should those people have their cars impounded? I vote no. What is my “solution” to that problem? Declaring that it isn’t one.

                  1. “What I’m talking about is people giving rides home to their illegal immigrant babysitters.”

                    This is one of your big fears from the law? People getting the car impounded because they were taking their illegal immigrant nanny home? Interesting.

                    “Should those people have their cars impounded? I vote no. What is my “solution” to that problem? Declaring that it isn’t one.

                    I agree that the babysitters and their employers aren’t necessarily the problem. But I think you’re being disingenuous to state that the law will end up stopping you from picking up your illegal immigrant babysitter. This seems like a stretch, at best.

                    1. I will never understand people that endorse a law that allows things they dislike because they have some belief that even though they’re authorizing the government to do something they dislike, that somehow the government will “use good judgement” or “be reasonable”.

                  2. “What I’m talking about is people giving rides home to their illegal immigrant babysitters.”

                    But if you live within 50 miles from the border you are fair game with your illegal alien babysitter?

                    I’m not sure why having a “home safe” area in the interior of the country does besides not inconvenience upper middle income parents living there.

                  3. I work for the Federal Gov. Coast Guard – we have customs authority and we can seize vehicle’s(in this case boats)for violating a law. I know Customs and BP can too.

                    Also born and raised in AZ, and my solution is if the market has no more “job” openings for the “illegals” then they will stop coming until there are more. I know from experience in AZ that most of the working immigrants, illegal or not, do not cause much of a problem. White or legal “citizens” cause more trouble. Expanding visa’s with a short wait period is a great idea; not impounding cars of people trying to help them or going after people employing them. Plus, the ranchers down South would not have the problem of illegals running through their property if it was easier, and quicker, to get through legally. We have enough problems in AZ. Creating more laws and continuing the black market for voluntary labor will not solve anything, just spending more money we don’t have and pissing more people off, like with the traffic cameras.

              2. I, for one, would really like to see the “Matt Welch 10-point Immigration Plan(tm)” I would be interested in subscribing to your newsletter.

                Wait, what? 🙂

                BTW, why the Kerry Howley love? You can do better referencing than that Matt.

                1. I am willing to support the M.W. 10-point immigration plan sight unseen.

      2. Huh. You know, what I thought you were doing was inflicting massive Medicaid costs and increased violent crime on your fellow citizens so you could pay less than minimum wage for labor. But now I see that you’re really almost Jesus kinda.

        1. As I’m sure you’re aware, immigrants generally don’t get returns on the taxes they pay into America’s bleeding entitlement schemes, making them a net tax income provider. And you know that places with higher numbers of immigrants tend to actually have lower crime rates. You know this, you’re just a totalitarian who thinks it is his business who I hire, cohabit with, or do business with.

          1. Bulllllllllllllllshit.

            Every kid alone costs an average 20K to educate through high school, assuming he event makes it.

    2. IMO, it’s the other way around. If you don’t have a gate, people are just going to go around the fence or over the fence. Once you have the gate installed, and people can go through there, then the fence starts to mean something.

      1. Agreed. I should probably have reversed that wording.

      2. This is the big point to make. If you want a secure border, then you need to make sure the people who do cross do so in such a way that you can keep track of who is crossing. The only way to make that happen is to give people who have a legitimate reason to be here (e.g. to work) can get in legally.

  3. Transport or move or attempt to transport or move an alien in this state, in furtherance of the illegal presence of the alien in the United States, in a means of transportation if the person knows or recklessly disregards the fact that the alien has come to, has entered or remains in the United States in violation of law.

    I like the idea of Arizona seizing a Greyhound bus because a couple of Mexicans bought tickets.

    1. Or seizing public transportation systems. Goodbye public busses!

    2. I would rather them impound an amtrak train.

      1. Mexicans can’t afford the ticket price.

  4. There is no point in having a gate if we don’t have a fence to begin with.

    The people we need to keep out of our country are terrorists and criminals. Everyone else should just have to pay a price for admission.

  5. Do unauthorized aliens get paid the minimum wage?

    If not they have an unfair advantage over authorized workers who are not free to contract for labor at the price they choose.

    1. I have never paid an unauthorized alien less than $10 an hour, in America.

      1. I didn’t realize ALF had any marketable skills.

      2. “[I]n America?”

        1. As a link in the post explains, I hired illegal immigrants in foreign countries (including myself), for wages that don’t approach $10 an hour.

          1. Ah, I see. I’m not going to read the link. Instead, I’m going to assume your “employees” were Thai women.

    2. So… get rid of stupid labor laws.

  6. Was the prospect of increased taxation to pay for enforcement of all these new regulations mentioned during the debate, or will these laws pay for themselves via savings from purging welfare rolls of the ‘unauthorized?’

  7. I see both Tman and Matt’s point. This is a tough topic. I’m half Mexican. My grandfather had to serve in World War II to become a citizen. Maybe we should open up the path for illegals to serve as a path to citizenry. I don’t think we’d hear much of an argument from the right on that (partial) solution.

    1. We already have that, pretty much.

  8. “Arguing that we should tear down our borders and let in whoever wants in is both non-productive and unrealistic.”
    Arguing for ending the drug war is both non-productive and unrealistic.
    Arguing for deregulating financial markets is both non-productive and unrealistic.
    Arguing for an non-interventionist foreign policy is both non-productive and unrealistic.
    Arguing for ending the income tax is both non-productive and unrealistic.

    Gee, the list just goes on and on, don’t it?

    1. The difference is that if you do any of those things and they don’t work out, you can reverse the decision. What are with all those immigrants when opening your border doesn’t work out?

      1. Really. ANY Mexican. Surely there must be one we could trade him for?

        1. Look mate, if you’re not smart enough to answer the question – just say so!

          1. THEY TOOK UR JERBS

            OH NOES, the immigrants came in! Just like the Italians, Germans, Jews, Polish, Portuguese, etc.

            Dude, your racism is showing. Do you even comprehend what you sound like?

            1. You’re not smart enough to answer the question either?

              Well, maybe the next guy will have one. I won’t hold my breath.

              1. What are with all those immigrants when opening your border doesn’t work out?

                The same thing that was done with blacks after slavery? The same thing that was done with the Chinese after 1882? The same thing that was done with all those bloody eastern and southern Europeans after 1921? The same thing that was done with all those Mexicans after 1986?

                Seriously, offer a wide open visa with explicitly no welfare and explicitly no citizenship track beyond what the US has today. If the US changes its mind, it can cease the issuance of these visas and simply absorb those who want to stay on the no welfare clause.

          2. The question seems to be missing some words, making it rather difficult to answer.

      1. Good point.

  9. Unless I’m missing something this is a stretch. How do you know the guys at the break corner or Home Depot are “illegal aliens”? I assume Arizona is as much or more likely to be full of “legal” Hispanics, many of Mexican origin, as my State of GA. This country has a whole Federal agency devoted to stopping those who don’t have legitimate reason to be here from crossing the border and apprehending those who do. Arizona has a brand-spankin’ new law that says the ones who slip through the cracks can be “rounded up” by state authorities. Unless you ask and they tell you they are illegal, or have large-type deportation orders pinned to their chest, why would you think they are “illegal”? Racially profile much?

    1. I make that assumption after having lived next to a Home Depot for five years, hired a couple of guys from there once, and read probably more than 100 articles on the subject, which have all emphasized the high concentration of unauthorized workers there.

      1. read probably more than 100 articles on the subject, which have all emphasized the high concentration of unauthorized workers there.

        There you go believing that lying Mainstream Media. NBC and others would have me believe my private firearms transactions likely involve “unauthorized” individuals.Unless an individual is known to me, or volunteers they are not-qualified to own a firearm we’re good to go under the law. IANAL, but I think that standard is more strict than what is required for a non-business hiring a day laborer.

      2. My swarthier kin only show up to hang out around the DMV on the days I happen to be there, too.

  10. Arguing for ending the drug war is both non-productive and unrealistic.

    No it isn’t. The drug war itself is already non-productive and unrealistic.

    Arguing for deregulating financial markets is both non-productive and unrealistic.

    That would be news to Wall Street. They argue this all the time, and so far have helped derail efforts at further regulation. So that’s productive.

    Arguing for an non-interventionist foreign policy is both non-productive and unrealistic.

    This I agree with, as we haven’t had the option of simply ignoring the rest of the world for at least the last 100 years.

    Arguing for ending the income tax is both non-productive and unrealistic.

    No it isn’t. But the Constitution has only been amended 28 times in the last 234 years, so you better have a good argument for repealing or amending the law that allows income taxes.

    Not as simple as you think, is it?

    1. Your sarcasmometer is broken.

  11. Free market health care? NP&U. (Non-productive and unrealistic)
    Ending restrictions on gun ownership? NP&U
    Restoring the 4th Amendment? NP&U
    Allowing sales of raw milk? You got it — NP&U.
    Re-legalizing toys in Happy Meals? Ok, that might be doable.

    1. Yeah — it (and you) are as simple as I think.

      1. Free market health care?

        Health Savings Accounts’s were both productive and real, and were working.

        Ending restrictions on gun ownership

        District of Columbia v. Heller. Next.

        Restoring the 4th Amendment?

        http://www.fear.org/

        Allowing sales of raw milk?

        Yeah, you got me on this. No idea what to say here. I think you should be able to buy it, but I don’t lose any sleep over it. I do think the “milk raids” were ridiculous.

        Any others?

        1. Do you really not realize that you’re proving my point? Wait, expecting that would be NP&U, as the kids say.

          1. How so? You are saying that fighting for the things you listed was NP&U, and I showed how that was not the case in all but one instance, as fighting for these has been productive and realistic.

            I’m not sure I’m following you.

  12. The problem, as usual, lies with the state. Terminate warfare/welfare and there would be no immigration problem.

    However, as friends of liberty, is not our first allegiance to freedom and not to some nation state or any of its political subdivisions? Who gives a rat’s rectum about the survival of the state of Arizona or the US? Its the survival and flourishing of freedom, stupid!

    1. Jesus, Libertymike. Don’t you know that valuing liberty more than the concept of the nation-state is non-productive and unrealistic?

    2. You really think immigrants come to this country illegally because they can receive emergency-room care and have their kids go to public schools?

      1. They probably come specifically in order to receive emergency-room care. That’s right — step in front of a van and live like a king in the I.C.U. — it’s every Mexican’s dream.

      2. I would hate to see Arizona confiscating ambulances and school buses.

        1. I do not think that all immigrants who come here do so for welfare purposes. However, I do think that, for a significant percentage of so-called illegal immigrants, one of the primary motivators is the prospect of getting free stuff.

          1. Then, we should not discount the reality that once here, many immigrants, legal or otherwise, are all too happy to get free stuff once they are wise to the possibility.

            Its human nature, for the morally inferior.

          2. If that’s the case, why are so many of the men standing in front of Home Depot (and 7-Eleven where I live) looking for work?

            I would love to see some data supporting this bullshit idea. From my own observations, immigrants work about a million times harder, and in shittier jobs, than the native born, and with far less complaint.

            1. Show us the data to support the bull-shit you are peddling.

              Sure, I know of immigrants, legal or otherwise, who fit the profile you are sketching, but I also know of many others who do take advantage of the free stuff-just like the tens of millions of US citizens who do as well.

              In case you can’t figure it out, I am an anarcho-free enterprise-individualist who believes that no state or political entity has the right to restrict the movement of any person.

              1. Show us the data to support the bull-shit you are peddling.

                Sorry, but I’m not the one making the claim that people are risking life and limb in the Arizona desert for “free stuff.”

                Again, if they are here for the freebies, why do we see so many doing whatever they can to get work?

                I can’t remember the last time I saw a native-born standing in front of the Home Depot waiting for a job for the day. I have seen, however, a great number of them applying for welfare.

            2. No, not 1,000,000 times harder. You are wrong.

          3. “Free stuff” is a motivator for an “unauthorized immigrant” to bring his wife or girlfriend over to live here and have anchor babies. It probably ranks #2 right after “regular pussy”.

  13. …(or at least, I had a pretty good idea that the dudes in front of Home Depot had a non-trivial chance of being “unauthorized”).

    Too fair-skinned to be out the sun doing your own yardwork, Matt?

    Also, that’s profiling.

    1. I was moving and needed some additional muscle. Would have happily hired anyone willing to work, and in fact did.

  14. If the aliens are ‘unauthorized’ does that make us natives ‘authorized’. What the fuck does that even mean? Is that the same as being ‘deputized’? If that is the case it may be necessary to go to Arizona and arrest that sheriff with too many vowels in his name. What kind of an American has that many vowels? His anti-immigrant stance is obviously a ploy to deflect suspicion of his own status as an American.

    1. If you are a citizen of country you have right to live in that country, if you are not a citizen, you may be extended the privilege of living there which may be revoked at the pleasure of the host country. Exactly what is so difficult to understand about that?

  15. If nothing else, this should cut down on murderous, swarthy hitchhiker killing sprees.

    1. But they’re only killing the hitchhikers that Americans won’t!

  16. You really think immigrants come to this country illegally because they can receive emergency-room care and have their kids go to public schools?

    What other explanation could there be?

    Besides Oprah.

  17. Um excuse me Matt but under current asset forfeiture laws they can take your car anytime they want without ever even accusing you of anything.

  18. Anyone who insinuates that Immigrants come for welfare is a racist and an asshole. Your way off base, and you need to stop reading ignorant articles. Even looking at history there’s tons of documentation of immigrants building this country, railroads, parishes, infrastructure, their own personal home improvements. I know talking about abolishing welfare and looking down on immigrants gets some peoples rocks off, but really, get a life and a hobby. Hopefully, I’m not mistaken in thinking you have a job.

    Immigrants are great for this country.

    1. Please connect racism with the assertion that some immigrants are motivated, in part, to come to the US to get free stuff.

      If you can, I will be your slave forever.

      1. I’m saying it’s racist to state immigrants come here for welfare handouts.

        Connect it, no, standing right there and saying it is racist in my book. It shows an ignorance of history, and a inability to look out the damn window.

        Not only should they be welcomed, but they should also come here and unionize.

        1. Using your logic, its racist to call another racist for expressing a view the contents of which do not concern race.

  19. If this is what they do to Canadians, imagine what they do to the Mexicans.

    1. “Three terrorists a day.”

  20. Well Karen Allen and Jeff Bridges are some serious hot water from the local cops in Maybe.

  21. Longtime posters here can attest to my long held position on immigration: it should be severly curtailed. But I can also say this is a stupid, danderous law. Anti-immigration monkeys with typewriters couldn’t have banged out a dumber law. The blunt stupid discretion granted to police is bound to result in abuse of citizens and racial profiling.

    1. How else do we severely curtail immigration, my friend?

  22. Does anyone here actually think this law will pass judicial scrutiny?

    1. Yes, because it is based on the federal statute. Including the requirement that legal immigrants carry their green cards or passports at all times. U.S.C. 1304(e).

      1. That argument hasn’t worked in the past. I won’t work now either.

        Immigration is the in the domain of the feds. It doesn’t matter how much the feds suck at enforcement. That doesn’t give the states the right to pass their own immigration laws.

        1. Did the states surrender their power to make laws regarding immigration?

          1. Article 1, Section 8

            “To establish an uniform Rule of Naturalization”

            1. Immigration is not naturalization.

  23. Yes, how DARE they take your car just because you’re using it to transport violent criminals into and around our nation!? How dare they enforce the rule of law!? Have they no respect for the natural state of anarchy, for the freedom to have everyone’s life be solitary, poor, nasty, brutish, and short!? Those law-enforcing bastards! HOW DARE THEY PUNISH CRIMINALS!!!

  24. Why would Mexicans migrate to the US for healthcare when the can get the same quality cheaper of for free at home.

    The fact is that with some kind of migrant worker program that allowed free movement back and forth most Mexicans would be going back when they needed non-emergency medical treatment and also would more than likely leave children and family there as well.

    Frankly, of all the illegal immigrant difficulties (and I aknowledge some), the Mexican “problem” is probably the easiest to fix.

  25. I have a lot of Canadian friends who work hard in Canada, then come to the US and live off their savings. They don’t work here or “steal jobs”, or anything, but I bet a few of them have stayed passed their official six month limit. I guess that means if I go on a road trip with them we should avoid Arizona.

    Some might argue that since my friends are white and speak English the chances of them being asked to produce papers is quite low, but heck, we’ve all been assured this law has NOTHING to do with racial profiling so they’re just as at risk as anyone else, right?

  26. all those complaining about the new ID requirement come from countries that make failure to carry an ID at all times a punishable crime. Besides, US law requires “immigrants” to carry proper ID at all times…. and these illegals call themselves “immigrants”!? Another legal requirement is the “Affidavit of Support” which guarantees that the immigrant never become a burden to the taxpayers….. these folks dont qualify on either score!

  27. Matt,

    At first, I thought you were arguing that the “transport” language is overbroad. From your responses in the comment section, that doesn’t appear to be the case.

    As it is, the language isn’t too broad. It would be tough for someone to violate this provision without intending to.

    You assert that it is bad policy to impound cars for people who knowingly drive illegal immigrants.

    Why is it bad policy?

    If there is any role for the federal government in the enforcement of immigration laws, why would this be unreasonable in achieving that objective? Granted, you may not believe there is a role.

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