Your morning jolt: Alabama immigration law sweeps up Mercedes-Benz exec

Over the weekend, Alabama discovered that its new illegal immigration law also applies to some pretty important Europeans. From the Associated Press:

A German manager with Mercedes-Benz is free after being arrested for not having a driver’s license with him under Alabama’s new law targeting illegal immigrants, authorities said Friday, in an otherwise routine case that drew the attention of Gov. Robert Bentley.

Tuscaloosa Police Chief Steven Anderson [said] an officer stopped a rental vehicle for not having a tag Wednesday night and asked the driver for his license. The man only had a German identification card, so he was arrested and taken to police headquarters, Anderson said.

The 46-year-old executive was charged with violating the immigration law for not having proper identification, but he was released after an associate retrieved his passport, visa and German driver’s license from the hotel where he was staying, Anderson said.

Mercedes-Benz builds sport-utility vehicles at a large plant about 20 miles east of Tuscaloosa. The automaker’s decision to open a factory in Alabama in 1993 was considered a major coup for the state’s economic development efforts and launched a trend of other foreign automakers and suppliers who opened major factories in the South – including the Kia plant in Georgia.

Before Alabama’s immigration law went into affect, the businessman – who was not named – would have been given a citation and sent along his way. How Alabama’s governor was so quickly informed of the arrest remains a mystery – but no one seems surprised.

Bentley, who signed the illegal immigration law earlier this year, called the state’s homeland security director, who in turn called the police chief.

***
Newt Gingrich now leads the GOP presidential field, according to a USA Today poll released today and conducted by Gallup. The former U.S. House speaker is benefitting from the plunge in support for his friend and rival Herman Cain:

Gingrich’s support shot up among those 50 and older, to 31% from 18% in the Gallup Poll earlier this month. Most of that came at the expense of Cain, whose support among this age group dropped from 22% to 11%.

***
Political Lesson No. 589: If you blow off a session with Joseph McQuaid, conservative publisher of the Manchester Union Leader in all-important New Hampshire, there’s every possibility that he will declare your presidential campaign to be dead. From his column today:

I was going to write about Herman Cain and the “interview that wasn’t” here at the Union Leader last Thursday, but it’s not worth much ink. We had an earlier interview here with him and I found him a likeable, intelligent guy with a good sense of humor. But Cain is going nowhere fast this presidential season, so I will only say that (a) he is not well-served by his staff; and (b) it is funny that in an era when candidates complain about the drive-by media, the Cain campaign cancels an hour-long interview with the state newspaper.

Instead, I write about Thanksgiving.

***
Somehow the pairing of the words just seems odd. We’ve received a note declaring that Occupy Gwinnett will assemble at the Justice Center in Lawrenceville at 7:30 p.m. today.

***
This weekend, as you find yourself chasing Black Friday bargains, think about where you are – and where you are not. From the Washington Post:

Development of new malls has almost completely stopped, with only two being erected in the country since the beginning of 2009, according to the International Council of Shopping Centers.

Outdoor town center concepts, featuring brick sidewalks, streetlights and even public clocks evoking the Main Street of yore, are climbing to a degree that many owners of enclosed malls are considering dramatic makeovers, some including plans to tear off the roof of, or “de-mall” enclosed shopping centers.

- By Jim Galloway, Political Insider

For instant updates, follow me on Twitter, or connect with me on Facebook.

183 comments Add your comment

Danny O

November 21st, 2011
9:46 am

It doesn’t make any sense for Cain to cancel a scheduled interview in New Hampshire. What on earth could have come up that would have prompted him to bail?

This is not meant as a criticism, but an honest-to-goodness head scratcher.

saywhat?

November 21st, 2011
9:50 am

Maybe the Alabamian thought the MB executive was a Mexican. All them foreign looking languages look pretty much the same.

Smoke

November 21st, 2011
10:08 am

Aren’t you suppose to get a State driver’s licence after a certain period of time?

Lumpkin resident

November 21st, 2011
10:10 am

Immigration laws apply to Europeans and Mexicans, alike. Immigration laws apply to rich and poor, alike.

YeahRight

November 21st, 2011
10:10 am

Hmmmm… wasn’t that some folks wanted less government in their lives? That doesn’t seem to be the trend with all the ‘morality’ legislative proposals floating around.

SAWB

November 21st, 2011
10:23 am

Why didn’t the guy have his papers with him? Seems to me this is a story about some idiot who drove without the correct documentation and not really as story about immigration. When I visited other countries I always kept the required documents on me it’s just common sense.

Ashley

November 21st, 2011
10:30 am

Aren’t you suppose to have a driver’s license when operating a motor vehicle. If I went to their country and didn’t have proper documentation I would be arrested and throw in jail. It seems that Alabama is applying the law to all individuals whether they be German or Mexican. Trying to find smoke when there is no fire ….been down that road before.

jgalloway

November 21st, 2011
10:31 am

Ah, but when most idiots drive without the correct documentation, the governor never want to know what’s up.

Real Athens

November 21st, 2011
10:33 am

Thank God for Alabama (and South Carolina too.)

You have to wonder if the Daimler executive wondered if he’d encountered a wormhole.

“Sir, your papers are not in order. You’ll have to come with me.”

william henry talbot walker

November 21st, 2011
10:37 am

This is obviously an aberration of the law, but the illegal alien advocates will assign the same weight to it as a systematic occurence. It will get a plethora of news coverage; probably the lead story in many markets.

deegee

November 21st, 2011
10:46 am

The Daimler executive was staying in a hotel and driving a rental car. He was probably on a business trip. He was carrying a German ID card and I am confident that he is fluent in English. He should have received a citation in accordance to the law before the right wing lunatics declared war on EEEELEEEEGULS. Actually, I couldn’t be happier about his arrest considering that Germans are some of the most nationalistic, xenophobic people in the world. I hope he enjoyed a taste of his own chocolate.

Eli

November 21st, 2011
10:46 am

Isn’t amazing how quickly the right-wing has transformed the South into something that resembles post-War East Germany?

“Show me your papers!” is not a phrase I ever expected to hear in the United States. My family fled Europe during the Nazi occupation to escape such conservatism and bigotry. Way to go right-wing America.

Not Blind

November 21st, 2011
10:47 am

The law worked just like it needed to. Too bad we waited until long after 9-11 to enact needed laws such as these. Maybe the illegal aliens that flew the bombers into the towers would have been deported if we had proper procedures and THE WILL to do what’s right pertaining to illegal aliens.

Ga Values...Just call me heartless

November 21st, 2011
10:49 am

Conservative scribe George Will ridiculed Newt Gingrich as a “rental politician” on ABC’s “This Week” yesterday, scoffing at the idea that the Republican Party’s self-described “big ideas” candidate is employable as a historian:

Gingrich’s is an amazingly efficient candidacy, in that it embodies almost everything disagreeable about modern Washington. He’s the classic rental politician. People think his problem is his colorful personal life. He’s gonna hope people concentrate on that, rather than on, for example, ethanol. Al Gore has recanted ethanol. Not Newt Gingrich, who has served the ethanol lobby. Industrial policy of the sort that got us Solyndra – he’s all for it. Freddie Mac, he says, hired him as a “historian.” He’s not a historian. Hire Sean Wilentz, hire Gordon Wood if you want a historian.

Mediaite has the video here. Will’s undisguised scorn is a good illustration of why Gingrich, even as he makes a bid for the affections of rank-and-file anti-Romney voters, is unlikely to win over much of anti-Romney conservative upper crust. As much as there’s still a demand for an impressive, thoughtful conservative in the race who can lead the party to Romney’s right, most of the political elites who know Gingrich best were convinced a long time ago that he isn’t that guy.

Read more: http://www.politico.com/news/stories/1111/68801.html#ixzz1eM69afSC

Teddy Roosevelt

November 21st, 2011
10:50 am

Well if he just had those documents with him it wouldn’t be a problem. If I get pulled over and didn’t have my license I would be in trouble too.

mem

November 21st, 2011
10:52 am

@not blind, the situation won’t improve unless we start putting some serious money into hiring agents to find the thousands of people who have overstayed their visas, but we pay attention to the “Mexicans” because it’s good politics.

ByteMe

November 21st, 2011
10:53 am

As Cain was blowing off McQuaid, McQuaid tweeted: “If he’s more than 30 minutes late, does that mean my pizza is free?”

When I was growing up, the only malls were “outdoor malls”, with no roof and no way to be shielded from the elements (like hurricane-force winds). Now they want to go back to that? No thanks. Can you imagine such a thing in Ohio with 2-3 feet of snow on the ground? Not helpful to your tenants, mall people! Be like baseball and get a retractable roof if you want to waste your money.

Teddy Roosevelt

November 21st, 2011
10:57 am

@mem, throwing more money at the problem won’t solve it, it will just bankrupt us along the way. If you have a rodent problem, the exterminator will tell you to get rid all the food, trash, etc in your house that attracts them in the first place before he goes about removing them.

Real Athens

November 21st, 2011
11:06 am

deegee:

My experiences in Berlin with the German people have been different. Interracial couples are MUCH more prevalent there — ask any black serviceman. My bigoted father found it “disgusting” when he was stationed there in the 50’s however, I digress.

In order for me to rent and operate a car and drive legally in Berlin, I needed only to show by passport and my GA driver’s license.

UGA 1999

November 21st, 2011
11:12 am

If you are here illegally, doesnt matter who you are…you gotta go.

deegee

November 21st, 2011
11:15 am

Hello Real Athens, I was speaking about the German attitude towards assimilating “auslanders” into German society, i.e. the Turks that have been living and working there for a couple of generations.

Teddy Roosevelt

November 21st, 2011
11:16 am

he was released after an associate retrieved his passport, visa and German driver’s license from the hotel where he was staying

well there you go

deegee

November 21st, 2011
11:19 am

Do people like UGA1999 have the ability to read and comprehend, or do they respond to every issue with knee jerk, emotionally charged statements such as “If you are here illegally, doesnt matter who you are…you gotta go.” The Daimler exec wasn’t here illegally yet he was thrown into jail anyway. Is that any way to treat a job producer?

Edward

November 21st, 2011
11:21 am

@Teddy: Exactly how the Republicans are attacking the illegals issue: the reason the illegals came here was for good jobs to support their families. The Republicans are doing everything in their power to eliminate jobs, thus no incentive for the illegals to come here. Problem solved.

UGA 1999

November 21st, 2011
11:26 am

deegee….Do you have the ability to “read and comprehend”? When did I ever post that he was here illegally?

UGA 1999

November 21st, 2011
11:27 am

Edward…I think that was the most ignorant comment I have ever seen posted on this blog. Where can I send your award?

Tax Payer

November 21st, 2011
11:32 am

If he was driving he should have had his Driver’s License regardless of his nationality. The article implies that he was allowed to have someone retrieve his documentation and was then released. It seems that the medial is making a big deal out of something minor. We have laws and they need to be obeyed.

Tea Party Hobbit

November 21st, 2011
11:35 am

Jim, you might want to revise your highlighting on the last article. People might think you are advocating a truly old-fashioned Thanksgiving…if you want to do that kind of chasing, maybe you should head to er…Germany?!? (nod to deegee on pegging Germans as xenophobic)

Amazing

November 21st, 2011
11:36 am

If I get stopped in Alabama, can I call the governor for help too?

snoqualmiefalls

November 21st, 2011
11:41 am

I appreciate Newt sharing his views on just about everything especially Social Security over the weekend, sharing pearls of wisdom that brought back memories and tears as I remember our last great President George Bush traveling the country, at taxpayer expense to give us the same viewpoint… next up Newt will give us pearls of wisdom on marriage or thoughts on being the only Speaker of the House to be convicted in an ethics probe… thanks Newt we all need your advice.

double

November 21st, 2011
11:47 am

He german exec.was treated same as I would hope to be treated.Probably we would be arrested,bonded,and upon proof of Dl.Pay court cost with no fine.

catlady

November 21st, 2011
11:52 am

How funny that the right wingers have seized upon this as evidence that those laws against illegals are working, instead of reading the part about THE GOVERNOR going to bat for this guy. Because, in the GOP world, OF COURSE, there are people who are too important to have the law applied to them!

findog

November 21st, 2011
11:52 am

Cain will take interviews if: they are to the length of time he establishes and there are no video’s that could later prove embarrassing…

Teddy Roosevelt

November 21st, 2011
11:56 am

No Edward its more like you made thanksgiving dinner with all the fixins, and had it all set out ready to eat for you and all of your family. Unfortunately, before you and your guests could enjoy the fruits of your labor a pack of rats came and ate all of it, leaving nothing for any of you.

Don't Tread

November 21st, 2011
11:56 am

This was handled the way it should have been.

God forbid that laws actually get enforced, because the libbies’ “Not Fair!” underwear wads up quickly.

Teddy Roosevelt

November 21st, 2011
12:01 pm

Catlady, I don’t think anyone has been harping about how successful these laws have been based on this one instance. IF anything, I think this just exemplifies that no one should be above the law.

Skip

November 21st, 2011
12:02 pm

How was he supposed to know you need a drivers license in Alabama. It’s unfair that you have to know every little law.

jconservative

November 21st, 2011
12:08 pm

Gingrich’s problem as a national candidate is that he refuses to stay on message. If he is the Republican nominee Obama wins in a land slide.

The Alabama thing is bad publicity for the immigration laws but that is about all. I try to never leave the house without my driver’s license. If I did and was caught I am sure the Governor of Georgia would take a personal interest in my case as he would in everyone’s case. Right?

Centrist

November 21st, 2011
12:08 pm

As others have correctly pointed out here, the German visiting on a visa should have had his drivers’ license and passport/visa with him. I travel to many different countries and rent cars – it is very well explained that those documents must be with you at all times while driving.

This is a good example of how the liberal media, through Mr. Jim Galloway, and liberal posters here are just trying to make this a story about an issue they oppose when there is nothing there. So what if somebody inside of Mercedes let the Alabama Governor know about the incident in case the media questioned it? The point here is that all drivers need to carry their drivers’ license, and foreign visitors need to have their proper documentation when they drive. This executive was treated no differently than any other foreign visitor.

Alabama Communist

November 21st, 2011
12:11 pm

More Breaking News On NH M Editor Canceling Herman’s Interview….A source within the Cain Campaign said today…” Herman is upset that the Editor cancel his interview and decided to interview some Turkey from Georgia named Newt”

flagger

November 21st, 2011
12:12 pm

Why is it some folks don’t understand what the word ILLEGAL means?? Please enlighten me and explain why they are called illegal aliens, could it be they are here illegally?

what?

November 21st, 2011
12:13 pm

@Amazing:If I get stopped in Alabama, can I call the governor for help too?

Sure, but he prob’ly won’t help trailer trash.

Mike

November 21st, 2011
12:14 pm

I hope Mercedes closes their plant in Alabama and goes somewhere else. Funny how the evil European car makers are the ones creating American jobs with their plants (BMW, Mercedes, Kia etc)… bet they feel real dumb for arresting someone with a company that helps support the local economy.

deegee

November 21st, 2011
12:15 pm

That’s good, Centrist. Throw a job producer in jail because he left his drivers license in his hotel room. God forbid he should roll a stop sign. And if you think that someone at Daimler informed the governor just for CYA, and that he was treated like every other foreign visitor, you’re sadly mistaken.

str81

November 21st, 2011
12:16 pm

The arrest of Germany exec was done in accordance to the law of that state (as it should have)… The question is… why did the governor have to know (and so quickly) and why he had to intervene with the homeland security… I am sure the governor does not get involved when a regular illegal immigrant is arrested… goes to show that the law is never applied the same to all (or should I say targeted to all). The law should have been left to take its cause without the governor’s involvement…. the irregular application is travesty in question on that story!!!!

prospero

November 21st, 2011
12:21 pm

The reblican candidates are dismal.
Too bad they can’t bring
Eisenhower back to life.

mem

November 21st, 2011
12:22 pm

@terry Roosevelt, problem is that this country makes a ton of money on visas, and tourism, so, how do you stop those people who remain after their visas are up? We’re spending a ton of money on homeland security which ICE is a parto of, with a budget that explosed after 9/11 with no end in sight. When there is an issue whose very existance makes money for a group of people (government, immigration lawyers, smugglers, etc), nobody is going to push to change things because however bad our economy, this is still seen as the land of opportunity for people in the rest of the world.

Rick in Grayson

November 21st, 2011
12:23 pm

The police in Alabama handled the situation as police in any US state should. Someone was driving without a license or ID. Would anyone expect the police to let them go on their merry way?

The driver had:
(1) No driver’s license
(2) German ID but no visa showing legal residency

The Alabama police are doing the job they were hired to do!

Real Athens

November 21st, 2011
12:23 pm

The valid question regarding the case is did he display a German driver’s license or an ID card.

This from the U.S. Tourism Administration.

“Normally, you can use your foreign drivers license in the USA. It must be a valid drivers license that has not expired. You can rent a car and drive with your foreign license. Some car rental agencies require that you have been driving at least one year, so your license must be more than one year old. Other rental agencies do not have such restrictions. Many car rental agencies require that you be at least 22 or 25 years old to rent one of their vehicles. They do not wish to rent to young less-experienced drivers. You should check the requirements on the web pages of the rental companies.

Typically, you do not need an international drivers license to drive in the USA. If you have a foreign drivers license that is written only in some language other than English, it may be useful to have an international drivers license. If you are stopped by the police, they must be able to recognize that your drivers license is legitimate and current. An international drivers license gives the information in many languages including English. It can be useful in enabling the police to understand.”

Rick in Grayson

November 21st, 2011
12:27 pm

This also illustrates that the immigration bill is not racist. It applies to anyone in the US illegally, regardless of race. So the liberals can drop their racist arguments.