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Alabama Arrests Another Foreign Auto Executive

First, it was a German national working for Mercedes Benz was arrested under Alabama’s new immigration law, and now a Honda exec from Japan.

Via the London GuardianAlabama red-faced as second foreign car boss held under immigration law

A judge has acted to put a Japanese employee of Honda Motor Company out of his misery by dismissing immigration charges against him, three days after he was booked under Alabama’s new immigration laws that have been billed as the most swingeing in America. Ichiro Yada is one of about 100 Japanese managers of the company on assignment in southern state.

Yada was stopped in Leeds, Alabama, at a checkpoint set up by police to catch unlicenced drivers. He was ticketed on the spot, despite the fact that he showed an international driver’s licence, a valid passport and a US work permit.

Key parts of the new immigration law, HB56, came into effect in late September, including the driving provisions. Under them, the police are required to check up on the immigration status of anyone they stop who they suspect of being in the country illegally.

In addition, all drivers are required to carry a valid driver’s licence, either from a US state or from their native country if they are from abroad. The law is designed to trap undocumented immigrants – in practice, Hispanics largely from Mexico – who are no longer allowed to apply for driving licences.

And the genius continues.

Yada, at least, was not taken to prison:

City officials said he was released on a signature bond at the checkpoint and was not taken to jail. The charge was dismissed after a copy of his Japanese license was shown to the court. (source)

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About Steven L. Taylor
Steven L. Taylor is Professor and Chair of Political Science at Troy University. His main areas of expertise include parties, elections, and the institutional design of democracies. He is the author of Voting Amid Violence: Electoral Democracy in Colombia and is currently working on a comparative study of the US to 29 other democracies. He earned his Ph.D. from the University of Texas and his BA from the University of California, Irvine. He has been blogging at PoliBlog since 2003. Follow Steven on Twitter

Comments

  1. Eric says:

    What sucks is that he had to show up to court too. That must have dampened the business trip.

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  2. John says:

    If I showed up at a driver’s license checkpoint without my driver’s license; I would get a ticket too. An international driver’s license is supposed to be presented along with your real license. The only thing it does is provide several translations of what is written on your government-issued license.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 2

  3. Hey Norm says:

    Bigotry can have un-intended consequences? Who’da thunk it?

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 1 Thumb down 0

  4. Herb says:

    @John:

    If I showed up at a driver’s license checkpoint without my driver’s license;

    You must not have read this part then:

    [Yada] was ticketed on the spot, despite the fact that he showed an international driver’s licence, a valid passport and a US work permit.

    So let’s review…the guy had his papers, is not an immigrant, was not in this country illegally. Why was he arrested again?

    Oh, right….he didn’t have his real license from Japan.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 3 Thumb down 0

  5. Hey Norm says:

    He was arrested because he is not a caucasion. No other reason.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 3 Thumb down 0

  6. James in LA says:

    “Yada was stopped in Leeds, Alabama, at a checkpoint set up by police to catch unlicenced drivers. ”

    Why does Alabama need “check points” just to check your papers? This is seriously screwed up. Do people living in Alabama realize they are living in a different country now?

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 5 Thumb down 0

  7. @John:

    If I showed up at a driver’s license checkpoint without my driver’s license; I would get a ticket too.

    But you would not be arrested. That is a rather substantial difference.

    @James in LA:

    Why does Alabama need “check points” just to check your papers? This is seriously screwed up

    I do not know the particulars of this checkpoint, but I have twice in the last several years (prior to the passage of the immigration bill) have been stopped at police checkpoints in Alabama and asked for my license and insurance. The first time it happened I assumed that they were looking for a fugitive or something, but think that, in fact, both were just “paper checks.” And yes: screwed up, indeed.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 1

  8. Hey Norm says:

    I was pulled over recently at an intersection in my small town where a cop was pulling over anybody that he could…ie seatbelts, cellphones, etc…my infraction? I didn’t have a front plate on my car (still don’t). When I asked my employee why he was wasting my time and his on such nonsense he said that 75% of the people he pulls over for such things do not have insurance, have expired licenses, tags, etc. A de-facto check for papers, just different papers, in white-bread Connecticut.

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  9. waltm says:

    Then there’s the perpetual war against drunk drivers, war on drugs, etc, roadblocks are a cheap way for rural police departments to show they are doing something.

    FWIW, from the US embassy, driving in Japan. Looks like a you need your passport/registration card, international driver’s license, your US license on hand.

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  10. matt b says:

    @Steven L. Taylor

    I have twice in the last several years (prior to the passage of the immigration bill) have been stopped at police checkpoints in Alabama and asked for my license and insurance. The first time it happened I assumed that they were looking for a fugitive or something, but think that, in fact, both were just “paper checks.”

    Beyond using this as a way to raise local funds, there’s another reason for these stops — nabbing people with outstanding warrants or other unresolved legal conditions. If you don’t have those papers, the cops can then run you against their database in the process of writing the ticket. Same is true when you get pulled over (a less publicized reason as to why many states have cell phone laws in effect).

    A similar rational led to crackdowns on people who jumped subway turnstiles in NYC in the late 90′s — see Gladwell’s The Tipping Point for more on this.

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  11. James in LA says:

    @waltm: “Looks like a you need your passport/registration card, international driver’s license, your US license on hand.”

    Unless you have a carry permit. Then y’all’s just fahn.

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