If I Lived in Arizona, They Could Seize My Car


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.

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.