Rep. Irwin Blasts 'Show Me Your Papers' Bill

Legislation discriminates against legal residents, adds to government costs
Tuesday, March 1, 2011

ANN ARBOR – State Representative Jeff Irwin (D-Ann Arbor) today blasted a bill that unfairly discriminates against legal immigrants and other legal residents by requiring them to prove their immigration status upon request without justification.

“When people come to Michigan to legally work and live, we should be welcoming them with open arms – not slamming the door in their face,” said Irwin. The Republican-backed bill would require anyone to prove their citizenship when questioned by law enforcement. In addition, it would require a person to carry an alien registration document with them at all times or be guilty of a misdemeanor punishable by imprisonment or fine or both.

The bill, which has been referred to the House Judiciary Committee, has not yet been scheduled for a hearing; however, Irwin wants his constituents to know that such an extreme bill will expose residents and local governments to unnecessary bureaucratic burdens.

“Our local police have more pressing matters than demanding every non-white person prove their immigration status,” said Irwin, a member of the House Judiciary Committee. “With projected revenue sharing cuts and local resources already stretched to the limit, now is not the time to be adding an unfunded mandate to local governments. This bill will be costly to our economy, our state’s image and public safety. Calling this bill the ‘support our law enforcement and safe neighborhoods act’ is a slap in the face to our hard-working men and women who protect and serve every day. What this bill should be called is the ‘show me your papers’ bill.”