• A Possible Turning Point For Alabama's Immigration Law?

    I've already covered one instance of fallout from Alabama's immigration law, also known as "HB 56" or "Scott Beason's Royal Cock-Up" in most circles. From what was reported, it seemed BBVA Compass was quietly making moves to pare down its investment and presence in Alabama to a minimum, thanks to this law.

    And now there's this story.

    TUSCALOOSA, Alabama -- 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, police said Friday.

    Tuscaloosa Police Chief Steven Anderson told The Associated Press 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.

    It wasn't immediately known how long the man was in custody or the status of his court case.
    The law -- parts of which were put on hold amid legal challenges -- requires that police check citizenship status during traffic stops and take anyone who doesn't have proper identification to a magistrate. Anderson said that's what was done, but someone in the same situation wouldn't have been arrested before the law took effect.

    "If it were not for the immigration law, a person without a license in their possession wouldn't be arrested like this," he said. Previously, drivers who lacked licenses received a ticket and a court summons, according to Anderson.

    Mercedes-Benz spokeswoman Felyicia Jerald said the man is from Germany and was visiting Alabama on business. The company's first U.S. assembly plant is located just east of Tuscaloosa.

    "This was an unfortunate situation, but the incident was resolved when our colleague ... was able to provide his driver's license and other documents to Tuscaloosa police," Jerald said.

    Even if this executive shrugs off this "Papiere, Bitte" moment, it's bound to leave a bad impression on the rest of the Daimler AG group. You can now expect them to have a heart-to-heart with the governor and key Alabama legislators over this little incident. Money talks, and when it does, politicians listen carefully.

    Given how the good doctor is busy wooing automobile manufacturers to open shop in the Heart of Dixie, he might want to be careful in making sure HB 56 doesn't step on the wrong set of toes, if you catch my drift.