Wednesday, July 28, 2010


Prologue: A federal judge has blocked the major provisions of Arizona's controversial new immigration law, SB 1070. Arizona governor Jan Brewer vows to appeal the ruling.

Went to work the other day--THIRTEEN years at the same company--and they said: "You need to sign some papers and produce some documentation to prove you have a legal right to be in this country." This country where I was born--just down the road at St. Mary's Hospital.

And I said what if I didn't--and they said you'll never work in this town again!

And the form said, in effect: Are you now, or have you ever been an illegal alien/terrorist scum? And I remembered that I had been an illegal speeder and red light runner, and I had been an illegal jaywalker, and an illegal accumulator of about a dozen unpaid parking tickets...but I didn't equate that with "illegal alien/terrorist scum," and so I marked the box that said no.

And then it said provide one form of ID from column "A," or one from column "B," AND one from column "C." But I don't normally carry my passport and/or birth certificate around with me--here in this place where I was born, just down the road apiece--and so I shrugged and said: No lo tengo.

And they looked at in the place where I've been coming in every morning for the past thirteen years--where everyone served up a friendly smile and knew my name--and suddenly, I was Jimmy Stewart in It's a Wonderful Life: BERT! ERNIE! DONCHA KNOW ME? IT'S ME--GEORGE BAILEY!

But they didn't know me. I had ceased to exist. I had no DOCUMENTATION. Documentation that divides us as a nation into US and THEM. And if there's anything that frightens the bejesus out of us--here in our land of the free and home of the brave--it's THEM.

"Bring in your passport tomorrow," they said...and I could feel their eyes following me as I walked on down the hall...


  1. Sometimes these legalities just sucks! Its there in one form or other in every country -- Liked the way you presented it Tim :)


  2. Wow... That's absolutely crazy... I'd have a fit if the hospital I worked at pulled that... I don't have a passport & only have a foggy idea where my birth certificate is. There has got to be a better way. This "Us" & "Them" crap... you hit the nail on the head.

  3. You wrote it brilliantly, Tim, but isn't that the most ridculous thing ever? I'm shaking my head. I'm scared of THEM too.

  4. This is indeed a brilliant account. One dreads thinking about those who couldn't come back with a passport / birth certificate the next day.

  5. Brilliant indeed....I never knew how stupid immigration laws were until I worked in an immigration centre, the regulation and disrespect is horrible. I tried to stay to help, but it was so stupid, I remember an immigrant on a work visa, who came in with his beautiful smile and told me he had been to busy to renew his work visa and he loved the work so much. I didn't do what I was supposed to do, I was suppose to take away his work visa, and report him as working without an updated work visa, and deprive him of everything until it was studied and debated and decided whether he should work again. I didn't. I told him softly, 'you didn't tell me that, you see, because if you have been working with this expired visa even if for just a few days, I'd hav eto report you, unless of couse I misunderstood, andyou haven't been working. Theshock on his face was quickly replaced by gratitude, and he assured me he hand't been working...just one example of so many stupid stupid regulation, eventually I was called back into another office...immigration did not agree with my conscience..

  6. DEVIKA,
    Yes, everyone's afraid of THEM wherever you go.

    Many people are breathing a sigh of relief in Arizona today.

    Until we learn to recognize that WE and THEM are the same--human beings that is--there will always be the fear.

    I want a passport that identifies me as: CITIZEN OF THE UNIVERSE!

    Quite a story. I knew you were a compassionate soul, and this just verifies it.

  7. Ha, I would have gotten all huffy and demanded why they lost my I-9 form and copies of idenification that I provided when I was hired. But then I'm kind of a huffy, angry person by nature.

  8. KOBICO,
    That's a good's the death of common sense...R. I. P.
    Okay, huffy person--I'll send your name to the Big Bad Wolf--he might need some help in blowing down the three little pigs' house!

  9. MAGYAR,
    Let's hope it doesn't go THAT far! (I said, as I shrugged.)