Wednesday, May 26, 2010

US Citizen detained, looks Mexican

Eduardo Caraballo is a natural-born American, born in the US colony of Puerto Rico. He even had legitimate ID on him when he was arrested because police thought he was involved with a car theft, something he denies. When he was being released on bail Immigration showed up, apparently someone thought he looked "illegal." In other words, he looked Hispanic, i.e. Mexican.

Under the new presumptions of the immigration hysteria one must prove one's innocence. For instance, the Arizona law requires individuals to prove they are legal citizens any time a police officer stops them if he "suspects" they are illegal. The law says that they can't take race into account, but all that means is that police have to write their arrest records saying that they had other reasons to stop the person. Included in this category, by the way, is that the person "looks nervous." That sort of subjective definition is a blank check for cops to harass people for looking Mexican, provided the police simply lie and say they "looked nervous" instead.

How will this work? First, the cop pretends the individual they want to get failed to completely stop at a stop sign. No evidence is necessary for this. The cop will claim he pulled the person over for some minor infraction. The kind and nice officer can claim that he merely intended to give the driver a verbal warning. But, lo and behold, the driver of the vehicle acted nervous arousing the suspicions of the nice policeman who never thinks anything forbidden by the law. So the office demanded the driver "prove" his U.S. citizenship.

Of course, the authoritarians who support these laws, claim that the law allows the citizen to "prove" his innocence—a reversal of the usual requirement that the state prove one's guilt. Now Mr. Caraballo did that. He provided ID and even managed to show them his birth certificate. That didn't matter, the feds held him anyway. After all, he looked Mexican, so they assumed the documents had to be forged. It took three days, of federal incarceration, before the feds realized that the evidence showed he was actually a citizen. Until they could do that Mr. Caraballo sat in detention for looking Mexican.