U.S. citizens who are applauding Arizona’s efforts to put a lid on illegal immigration in that state are not thinking things through. For instance, the probability that we can have 50 different versions of who exactly is an “illegal alien” and what is “reasonable cause.” I mention this because each state of the United States has its own, distinct culture, as reflected by the clothes we wear and the way we speak. Each state in the union has a different definition of “foreigner.” It’s possible, if not likely, that my Texas way of speaking, yes, that Texas twang, will irritate someone one day, maybe a New York City cop who doesn’t like Texans anyway, who arrests me for not carrying proof of U.S. citizenship.
Not that the state of New York will adopt a law similar to the Arizona law, but it’s always possible. In any event, this scenario is familiar to me because I represented a New Yorker who was arrested for speeding and failure to dentify herself by a Texas cop who told my client that he hated New Yorkers and wanted all of them to go back. It’s no wonder that she refused to show him her drivers license. So, under the new definition of “reasonable cause,” would the obnoxious behavior of my client, who, in all honesty, was obnoxious, constitute reasonable cause? I mean, the two didn’t like each other from the get-go. Even though this could have been a simple ticket case, the cop in all likelihood lost his temper the minute she opened her mouth with “attitude” and hauled her off to jail because he could tell she was an obstinate New Yorker. All New Yorkers talk with a Brooklyn-like accent that makes their English incomprehensible in this part of the country, and they’re rude.
In a different situation, I’d worry about opening my mouth in some other state.
The only ones who can understand me are Texans. The rest of the country thinks I’m retarded the second I start talking. In fact, a New Yorker once told me that she was going to retain my services as an attorney while hoping that I didn’t think as slowly as I talked. In conclusion, my recommendation to all U.S. citizens is to arm themselves with their U.S. passport or U.S. birth certificate if they venture out of their state for fear of stepping on someone’s toes, particularly a cop’s sensitivity about foreigners. Every state will have a different version of what’s “reasonable cause.” It just might be the fact that you smoke, or eat curry, or just plain talk “Texas” style.