In the Washington Post, columnist and former Bush speechwriter Michael Gerson pronounces the new Arizona immigration law “understandable — and dreadful.” It makes it harder for illegal immigrants to live without scrutiny — but it also makes it harder for some American citizens to live without suspicion and humiliation. Americans are not accustomed to the command “Your papers, please,” however politely delivered. The distinctly American response to such a request would be “Go to hell,” and then “See you in court.”
Which leads to the question: What America is Gerson living in? No, we are not confronted by actors with heavy German accents demanding our papers. We are instead confronted routinely by people of all stripes asking to see our driver’s license.