In July of 2010, I decided to take a road trip to the red rocks of Sedona, Arizona. A few days of rest, relaxation and hiking from the daily grind of my law practice in Houston, Texas seemed inviting. So I packed up my 04 Lexus and headed West.
But long before the red rocks of Sedona loomed in the horizon, I was puzzled by a huge sign saying, “Heil Brewer— Death to Brown people.” Since I’m brown, I was kind of taken aback, and decided to watch my speed and obey all traffic laws. After all, this is still America, where I am a naturalized citizen, and I would be Ok, if I did not break any rules. Wrong. Within 15 minutes I heard the sirens behind me asking me to stop. I look behind me as I stopped, and there is a police car with pictures of Ms. Brewer and Ms Palin on the dashboard. Once the officer walks up to me, I said, “but officer I was well within the speed limit.”
Officer: Where did you cross the border?
Me: Texas, I am a Texas resident
Me: No Officer, I am from Houston
Officer: Uh huh, How do you prove it?
Me: See, my driver’s license gives my Houston address. Same zip code as George H Bush
Officer: So you stole the car with the license?
Me: What…. I did not steal the car. If I was going to steal the car, why would I steal a Toyota?
Officer, You are under arrest
Me: For what?
Officer: For being an illegal and stealing a car….
Me: Are you not going to read me my miranda rights…. I want to see a lawyer, I want due process
Officer: Those are federal laws, they don’t work here in Arizona
Me: But I thought states cannot curb federal laws
Officer: You want to stay in jail forever?
Me: Sorry, Sorry Officer.
The next day I see a judge who says the fine is $20,000/- If I pay it I can go back to Houston.
I told the judge that I hadn’t committed any crime whatsoever.
The Judge told me, Since the Immigration bill was passed, Arizona is loosing money. That is our rate. You either pay this and leave the State, or stay jailed forever.
I wake up to the sound of my alarm clock. This was thankfully a nightmare. But it was oh so real. Bye Bye Sedona, there is a thousand places outside Arizona who could use my tourist dollars.