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German Mercedes-Benz Executive Legally in U.S. Arrested in Alabama for Violating State’s New Immigration Law

A Mercedes-Benz manager from Germany legally visiting the U.S. on a business trip was arrested in Alabama for violating that state’s harsh new immigration law.

According to the Associated Press, the 46-year-old executive (no name given) was driving a rental car without a tag when he was pulled over by police in Tuscaloosa, Alabama on Wednesday. There is a Mercedes sport-utility factory in Vance, which is about 20 miles east of Tuscaloosa. The driver did not have his license with him, only his German identification card. Under the state’s new immigration law, the officer had to arrest the man. He was charged with violating the immigration law, which requires foreigners– legal or not– to carry papers with them at all times.

The executive was released from custody after an associate brought authorities his passport, visa and German driver’s license from the hotel where he was staying.

Governor Robert Bentley, a Republican and staunch supporter of the immigration law, phoned the state’s Homeland Security director to inquire about the arrest.

“If it were not for the immigration law, a person without a license in their possession wouldn’t be arrested like this,” Tuscaloosa Police Chief Steven Anderson told the AP.

Alabama’s immigration law is widely acknowledged to be the most draconian in the nation. It requires police to check citizenship status during traffic stops and to arrest anyone without proper ID. Also:

*It forbids the “harboring or transporting” of undocumented immigrants.

*It requires police to determine a person’s citizenship and immigration status during traffic stops, detentions and/or arrests if there is “reasonable suspicion” that the person is an immigrant– “legal” or not.

*It requires a citizenship investigation of anyone registering to vote.

*It requires school officials in all public schools, grades kindergarten through 12, to determine the citizenship status of all students and to report annually on how many presumed undocumented immigrant students are in their schools.

*It outlaws the renting of property to undocumented immigrants.

*It bans knowingly hiring them to do any work within the state.

*It invalidates any contract to which an undocumented immigrant is party if any legal party in the contract has “direct or constructive knowledge” that the other party is in the country “illegally.”

*It bans undocumented immigrants from applying for or soliciting work.

*It twists the meaning and purpose of anti-discrimination laws by deeming it a discriminatory practice to terminate the employment or refuse to hire a “legal” resident when an “illegal” one is on the payroll.

*It bans undocumented immigrants from receiving any state or local public benefits.

*It bans undocumented immigrants from enrolling in or attending public colleges.

*It criminalizes “dealing in false identification documents.”

*It mandates that every business in the state verifies employees’ immigration status via the US government’s E-Verify system.

The law is being challenged in federal court by the Justice Department and a bevy of civil rights and religious groups. Parts of it have been blocked, but the portion pertaining to the Mercedes executive’s arrest are still legally in effect.

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