Tuesday, April 26, 2011

Should US citizens be required to carry passports within the US?

One morning we were driving around the American town where hubby was born and raised, when he realized that all the identification he was carrying on him was foreign. Our car was registered to Ontario, our driver licences were from Ontario, and he had absolutely no proof that he was an American citizen. Come on, no one thinks to carry a passport when you’re going to get coffee and donuts. I’ve traveled all over Europe, and if I was not crossing a border, I kept my passport back at the hotel for safekeeping.

As anti-immigrant hysteria sweeps the US, more and more states are passing laws similar to Arizona’s draconian SB1070. This law requires the local police force to ask for US identification and proof of legal residence if they have any reason to interact with you. In hubby’s case, in the absence of proof of lawful presence in the US would require the police to report him to Homeland Security for immediate removal to an Immigrant Detention Center. How ironic that he could be arrested and detained by immigration authorities in the town he was born and raised in.

Now obviously we can produce a US passport for him, but immigration authorities will still incarcerate him pending presentation of that document.

It is only a matter of time before all states have passed their own form of SB1070 and more and more US citizens and legal immigrants will be detained.

For the first time hubby felt like an outsider in the town where he was born and raised.


  1. As a Canadian with an American wife living in Canada I've wondered what I could documentation I could carry in the US to show that I'm legally visiting. I don't look Hispanic so I'm probably safe but the way things are going I'm not sure if that's the case.

  2. My point exactly, Michael, what about tourists who are visiting the US, especially from a visa waiver country. There really isn’t any documentation you can carry to prove that you are legally visiting. Your Canadian passport would not show you are in the US legally, only that you are a Canadian citizen.

    What would your American wife carry to prove she was in the US legally?

    The interesting thing for me was that my American husband felt insecure in the town he was born and raised in.