A few years back, a friend of mine, who came here as a Cuban refugee in 1968, was pulled over by the Georgia State Patrol. This was before the onerous Nuremburg laws were passed in Georgia, allowing the Police - nay, requiring the Police to investigate the immigration status of anyone deemed "suspect".
The Officer who did the traffic stop was a young fellow - pink of skin, with folds of fat around his neck, his head a burr of close-cut hair. If you live in Georgia, you know what I am talking about. A well-fed boy. He was apparently fairly new to the force, as he was accompanied by an older Officer - a female - who held back and watched the traffic stop. Perhaps he was in training. We do not know.
Anyway, after asking my friend for his license and registration, he asks, "Do you have any proof of residency?" Of course, at the time, he didn't even have the legal right to ask this, as these new onerous laws had not been passed. But he asked anyway, no doubt because he listened to talk radio all day long and the vile hatred spewed by the anti-immigrant forces had seeped into his brain. And here was his chance to catch an illegal "Spic" and send him back to Mexico!
Why was he suspicious of my friend? Was he riding in the back of a pickup truck with a load of lawn care equipment? Hardly. He was wearing a suit and tie and driving a Mercedes-Benz. He hardly looked "Hispanic" in any sense. But he does have a charming (to me, anyway) thick Cuban accent. "Oh, Looooocy! I'm Hooooome!"
Now my friend actually had his U.S. Passport with him, which was lucky for him, and today would be a requirement if anyone with any sort of accent wants to leave the house. So he pulled it out and gave it to the Officer. No doubt, this boy of a Policeman had never even seen a U.S. Passport, having never left his home town in rural Georgia, other than to attend Police Academy. He riffled through the Passport, mystified. "Where in here does it say you are here legally?" he intoned, shining his flashlight in my friend's face.
"It is a U.S. Passport!" my friend cried.
"Yea, I see that, but where is it stamped that you got here legally?"
At this point, the other Officer got out of the car, sensing something wasn't right. "What's going on here, Clem?" she asked.
"This fellow has no proof of residency! All he has is a U.S. Passport!"
The second Officer quickly sized up the situation, gabbed the passport from Clem and handed it back to my friend. "Thank you sir, you're free to go!" she said, taking Clem by the elbow.
As he started up the Mercedes, he could hear them arguing. No doubt, she was trying to explain to him that a U.S. Passport was indeed, proof of Citizenship and that moreover, under the law (at the time) he had no right to even ask about such things.
For my friend, there was a tinge of irony in all of this. His family had escaped Cuba, at a time when a simple drive down the street would take them through roadblocks where "revolutionary guards" would ask them for their "identification papers, please" and then scrutinize them with skepticism. They lived in fear and uncertainty - and prayed that the whims of one official or guard would not land them in jail, or beaten and left for dead by the side of the road.
I recounted before about how a man at the Virginia DMV in Arlington held up the line while he went through a meltdown, screaming at the entry clerk that he "didn't have time" to go back home to get these documents.
I finally tapped him on the shoulder and he turned and shouted, "WHAT?"
I then calmly explained to him that three of the 9/11 hijackers got their fake IDs standing in line right where he is standing right now, and that the clerk behind the kiosk was not authorized - nor was anyone in the building authorized - to make an exception for him, and that he might as well spend the 15 minutes of screaming and arguing, pulling out hair and rending garments, just driving back to his condo in Foreclosure Mews Estates and getting the damn documents.
The clerk mouthed the words, "thank you" as he left.
So just do it.