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Alabama Immigration Law Leads To Arrest Of Mercedes Manager

The Mercedes-Benz logo.

The Mercedes-Benz logo.

Alabama’s complex and controversial new immigration laws don’t leave police with a lot of room for interpretation. If you’re stopped and can’t produce documentation, you go to jail until you can prove your identity (and nationality), or until you sit before a judge.

The law is applied to all, even visiting managers from Mercedes-Benz Germany. Last Friday, police in Tuscaloosa, Ala., stopped a rental vehicle for a license plate violation. Inside, police found two men, but the German driver could not produce a driver’s license or another identity document, so he was taken into custody and placed in the Tuscaloosa city jail.

The incident was resolved when the man’s colleague returned with the driver’s German passport and driver’s license.

As CNN points out, critics of the law will use the incident to illustrate its likelihood to drive foreign companies away from the state, at a time when Alabama is working hard to attract them. The state is home to Mercedes-Benz, Honda and Hyundai vehicle assembly plants, as well as a Toyota and Hyundai engine factories and dozens of supplier plants, and the factories provide much-needed revenue at both the state and local levels.

Those in favor of the new immigration law cite the incident as proof that police aren’t profiling, and are applying the new statutes fairly to all.

Worth noting is that police had the power to arrest undocumented detainees even under the previous laws, but had more latitude for incidents such as this. Under the new laws, immigration status must be checked during a traffic stop, and those unable to produce identity documents are remanded into custody.

Mercedes-Benz is shrugging it off as an “unfortunate situation,” and we’re inclined to agree. We’ve spent plenty of time overseas, and traveling with your passport (and international driver’s license) on your person at all times is covered in Travel 101. Let’s use this as a reminder and move on.

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Comments (14)
  1. But do we really want to be a nanny state like Europe, where we have to show papers everywhere we go? Isn't the government too intrusive as it is?

  2. If you're stupid enough to go out without proper identification -- you're stupid enough to have something like this happen to you. What happens if you're incapacitated and wind up in a hospital? What will let your family know? How will medical staff get access to your records? Nanny state. Geez, turn off Limbaugh and try thinking for yourself.

  3. No need for a personal attack, Mr. Nuts. In response to your question, there's a difference between carrying contact or medical information in your wallet, and being legally required to carry state-issued papers with you whenever you're outside. And for the record, I can't stand that lying druggie.

  4. It's easier to simply implement E-Verify nationwide so Americans are working jobs here and not the illegals. Problem mostly solved.

  5. So I'd need to carry my passport with me, even if I'm an American, and I'm travelling from one US state to another? This is one stupid law. All the foreign companies need to stop investing in these racist states.

  6. @Rafi, as an American, all you'd need is a driver's license. My comment about always keeping a passport with you applies to traveling in foreign countries only.

  7. As a German, he should understand the NEED to have IDENTIFICATION with him at all times!

  8. We need to E-Verify the nation and then fix U.S. trade so Americans can go back to work at good jobs again.

  9. Mr. Armstrong, I agree. But the only way you're going to fix U.S. trade, (e.g., the auto industry)is by repealing at least 1/2 of the safety and emissions regs put on by congress. By doing that, you make the car less expensive, and make it more attractive for the manufacturer to produce here. Also, either take away corporate taxes, or make the dividends they pay non-taxable income, as it's already been taxed. These idiots who decry the 'big, evil companies', 99 times out of 100, don't have a financial stake in the company. for which they work. If it weren't for these companies, these idiots would be on welfare, since they don't have the initiative or guts to try to go into business for themselves. Just my two cents...

  10. The story said He had no ID, if he would have had His Drivers License on him he would not have had A problem. And His company understood that and also advised out of towners to always carry their ID. We have to do what it takes to these ILLEGAL INVADERS OF OUR COUNTRY OUT, if you don't like it LEAVE

  11. @Lance... You already have the same requirement in this country. Any law enforcement officer can ask you for identification, and if you can't produce any, you're going to jail, if for no other reason to be fingerprinted, so they can positively identify you.

    @Mr. Nuts - How did this become an issue involving Rush Limbaugh ???

    If there was a 'national identification card' that every CITIZEN AND LEGAL ALIEN had, it would make it very easy to figure out who was here illegally, and as a side benefit, it would make voter fraud much more difficult to commit. Yes, I see the correlation to '1984' by George Orwell. But you have that now, with every entity in the country feeling they have to use your social security no. as ID.

  12. He was driving a car and should have had a drivers license with him. Do you think that Americans are allowed to drive around in Germany without an international drivers license?

  13. Cops who made this traffic stop are one short of a six pack in the head. They're driving a rental car, and I'm sure the driver spoke with a German accent and said "I left my passport and license at the hotel…" Cops should have use diplomacy, followed the company official (who provides jobs for Alabama) to the hotel to retrieve his passport and license, and let him go from there. But ooh no, I'm a robot cop who makes no exception, even if it means Mercedes Benz might close their assembly plant and move to another state.

  14. You are suggesting preferential treatment.

    Carry your driver's license. Period.

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