Alabama's strict immigration laws have helped land a Mercedes-Benz executive in jail. The Associated Press reports that an unnamed Mercedes executive was arrested after being pulled over for a routine traffic stop.

The arrest came after the 46-year-old exec was unable to produce any identification other than his German ID card. The executive was pulled over because his rental car reportedly did not have any tags, but he was later released after an associate was able to present his passport for inspection. Mercedes-Benz spokesperson Felyicia Jerald called the incident "unfortunate," and added that the incident was resolved once a colleague was able to produce a driver's license.

When Alabama Governor Robert Bentley heard of the executive's arrest, he reportedly contacted State Homeland Security Director Spencer Collier to get details. We're guessing that doesn't happen when most other immigration arrests in Alabama, but Mercedes-Benz has a substantial footprint in the state. Mercedes has built vehicles in Tuscaloosa since 1993, and the facility currently produces the ML, R-Class and GL.


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    • 1 Second Ago
  • 113 Comments
      aatbloke1967
      • 3 Years Ago
      "What you should really be concerned about is why our German guests pay a small fraction of taxes to our financially strapped State compared to what I, a homegrown Alabamian, pay for the right to open my door to the public." Foreign assignees in the United States, as with American assignees in countries all over the world, are bound by expatriate tax programmes which are governed and approved by tax jurisdictions in countries which are party to tax treaties with other countries. The United States has tax treaties with many countries around the globe. As a result, an assignee is usually only bound to retain a tax liability equal to that which he would pay on his ordinary income in his/her home country, regardless of what they earn in their host country. The effective additional tax on additional earnings in their host country are paid by the company, and treated as a taxable benefit in kind which itself is paid by the company. Alabama would be paid the tax, but by the company as opposed to the individual. His US federal liability would be negated by the German federal, state and (if applicable) church tax payable, and any additional US federal liability paid by the company. Bear in mind also that Alabama receives a significant amount of property and corporate taxes from Mercedes itself. I suspect much of this story is media sensationalism, because it doesn't detail the nature of the German ID. You are not legally required to carry a passport as a visitor to the US, although it's advisable to. And a foreign driving licence is acceptable for up to one year.
        SloopJohnB
        • 3 Years Ago
        @aatbloke1967
        That sword cuts both ways...US citizens often pay little or no taxes when in other countries for more than 18 months. Do you think US servicemen in Iraq pay Iraqi taxes (dunno if Iraq even has an income tax, probably against the Koran like interest).
        Commentotron2
        • 3 Years Ago
        @aatbloke1967
        Hey now, let's not let facts get in the way of nationalistic chest thumping!
      jkaley
      • 3 Years Ago
      He had his German ID card. Imagine if the US had a national ID card? Ooops you might have to present it for employment or getting a driver's license then illegals would have a harder time getting work. I do find it interesting that he knew enough to have his German ID card. Possibly at home he would be in serious trouble for not having. Driving a car with out tags...I hope he was not surprised he got pulled over.
        Sol
        • 3 Years Ago
        @jkaley
        Germany has a smaller land area then four US states while having a population double the largest state population. Also a German ID is basically a State Divers License.
        knottymama
        • 1 Year Ago
        @jkaley
        Seriously?! Bless your little heart...They accidentally snagged ONE white guy and suddenly realized how harsh the law is. http://www.bloomberg.com/news/2011-11-23/alabama-considers-revision-of-immigration-law-ensnaring-mercedes-executive.html
      dukeisduke
      • 3 Years Ago
      The Mercedes-Benz plant is actually just outside of Vance, not Tuscaloosa. It's on the south side of I-20. I drove past the place this past summer - it is *huge*. If the car didn't have any tags on it at all (not even a temporary tag), I can see why the cops would pull him over.
        Cg31786
        • 3 Years Ago
        @dukeisduke
        The city limits of Tuscaloosa were extended for tax revenue purposes to include the plant before construction started. You enter Vance a few hundred yards from the plant. I live in Vance and can actually see the lights of the plant from my house.
      Matt
      • 3 Years Ago
      So, if you get pulled over for a violation that would result in a ticket, but don't have any way to show who or where to send that ticket to, you get out of it in other states? It seems to me that if you can't prove who you are AND you're in violation of the law, you should be taken into custody in any state. Filing this under immigration is unnecessary. The article says that before the immigration law took effect, someone who could not produce a license would not be arrested. That is still true in Alabama, to my knowledge: if you simply don't have an ID with you, you're fine, and will not be arrested (but nobody is stopped for an ID check anyway, so it doesn't matter). IF however, as in this situation, you've committed some other offense AND you don't have a license with you, you will be arrested. This seems like a non-issue, whether it was the guy's fault or not.
        bhtooefr
        • 3 Years Ago
        @Matt
        IIRC, the Alabama law means, if a cop thinks you're an immigrant, and you don't have a license or some other form of ID with you, EVEN IF YOU'RE NOT DRIVING, you can be arrested. Even if you've always been a US citizen.
      Pj Taintz
      • 3 Years Ago
      maybe now people can quit bitching about this being racist????
        knottymama
        • 1 Year Ago
        @Pj Taintz
        Seriously?! Bless your little heart...They accidentally snagged ONE white guy and suddenly realized how harsh the law is. http://www.bloomberg.com/news/2011-11-23/alabama-considers-revision-of-immigration-law-ensnaring-mercedes-executive.html
      • 3 Years Ago
      [blocked]
      Car Guy
      • 3 Years Ago
      To recap - the man didn't have the correct immigration documents (eg passport), his car had no tags, therefore he was arrested. The law was followed and he subsequently produced the correct documents (which was his fault that he did not originally have) and he was released. This is a non-story despite the media attempting to bait people into making it one.
        ack154
        • 3 Years Ago
        @Car Guy
        That's what I was trying to figure out. Even reading the AB article over again I'm failing to see the problem. Neither he nor his car had proper documentation. Pretty sure this might happen in places outside Alabama too...
          snap_understeer_ftw
          • 3 Years Ago
          @ack154
          in most states, he wouldn't need to produce ID of proof he is legal............. Isn't it basically only AZ and AL that give police officers the right to rquest this info at their discretion? AFAIK, other 48 states don't give officers such authority for a simple traffic stop. He could however be arrested or just fined for 1) driving without a proper driving license 2) driving without license plates 3) driving an unregistered vehicle (was the car actually unregistered or simply did not have physical plates bolted on?) all in all, it is clear the primary intent of the law in AL is to keep in check the population of Mexican illegals but I find it kind of funny that it netted a European foreigner.......Good job by the cop for doing his job though
        reattadudes
        • 3 Years Ago
        @Car Guy
        if you were even the slightest bit familiar with the laws of many states in the south, you'd be aware that many DO NOT have temporary plates. at best, they will have a cardboard tag that reads, "tag applied for", with NO registration numbers on it. that "tag applied for" is not even required. it IS a big deal, because if it wasn't, the governor would not be involved. these idiots in the Alabama legislature are now reaping what they've sown.
      visconti24
      • 3 Years Ago
      Daimler deserves everything they get for building an automobile plant in a third world state.
        Lachmund
        • 3 Years Ago
        @visconti24
        so you think it's a bad thing to bring work and money to poor countries?! or did you mean the states?
        Matt
        • 3 Years Ago
        @visconti24
        Aww, you must be from Michigan. I'm sorry we're more attractive to international employers than your state, even if it's no MI.. better luck next time.
        emperor koku
        • 3 Years Ago
        @visconti24
        Haha, love it!
      Shane Gardner
      • 3 Years Ago
      By law you must have a proper form of identification on you in this country, a law that is even stricter in Alabama. Nothing that should have not happened...happened. A well done Officer for doing your job by the book.
        Bruce Lee
        • 3 Years Ago
        @Shane Gardner
        Are you talking about the U.S.? Because it's actually the law that you're not at all required to carry ID so you have it entirely backwards but the law only applies to citizens so foreigners are still required to carry ID.
        Commentotron2
        • 3 Years Ago
        @Shane Gardner
        Really? What law requires I carry ID? While driving, yes in the form of proof that I am alloed to drive. But there is no law in genral requiring ID. At least not where I live and there is none at the federal level. Hey Alabama, how's those crops doing. Oh yeah. Rotting in the fields. So much for protecting those jobs for 'muricans.
          AZ Stang
          • 3 Years Ago
          @Commentotron2
          There is a requirement for foreign nationals to carry their ID with them at all times. It's federal law, and unless you live outside the US, it's the law where you live
        SloopJohnB
        • 3 Years Ago
        @Shane Gardner
        That is utterly stupid and ignorant. How many 12-15 year olds do you know with 'proper identification?' If your argument is that you must have proper identification when driving, that's another matter.
          bobdaily99
          • 3 Years Ago
          @SloopJohnB
          that is why we all need to have an ID chip implanted under our skins at birth.....like our dogs and cats lol
      Steven
      • 3 Years Ago
      A huge win for Alabama! Just goes to show you how well a good law will work, when applied. And as far as that German exec goes...maybe he's now learned a very important lesson..as a foreign visitor in this country, he should carry his ID papers with him at all times...people who can prove that they have a right to be in this country are always welcome... those that can't (illegals) or those people arrogant enough to test the law...like that Mercedes exec...they need to be sent home asap!
        Bruce Lee
        • 3 Years Ago
        @Steven
        Yeah I'm sure Alabama will really appreciate it when Mercedes leaves town for a more friendly state. They've already trashed their farm industry with their immigration policy so I guess the next step is to arrest Hyundai and Mercedes execs to destroy the car industry?
        Weshusky
        • 3 Years Ago
        @Steven
        I suppose you have never left home without your wallet. How stupid can you get.
          Mark Lathom
          • 3 Years Ago
          @Weshusky
          I did exactly that last friday. The entire time I was thinking to myself, "Opps, I'd better drive real careful because I'll been in a heap of trouble if I get pulled over without my license..." And I was born here. Why should anyone else be any different?
      jamsbong
      • 3 Years Ago
      I think I will not visit USA any time soon because getting x-rayed (becoming nude) at the airport, super-aggressive laws against foreigners, and all the bad stories.
        conceptsiw
        • 3 Years Ago
        @jamsbong
        Perfect attitude...see the law is working as intended.
        Jean
        • 3 Years Ago
        @jamsbong
        I can't say we'll miss you .
        abhall3740
        • 3 Years Ago
        @jamsbong
        What would happen if you were in Germany and did not have your papers I bet you would go to jail
        whiteoak
        • 3 Years Ago
        @jamsbong
        you will get that long before getting here but just as well STAY HOME
      graphikzking
      • 3 Years Ago
      My wife is a green card holder and every paper we have ever gotten says " you must have your resident alien card with you at all times". So yes, it's unfortunate he didn't have his passport with him, but it is the law. Thing that sucks is how often do we go on vacation in Mexico and leave our passport in the room instead of on the beach or in town with us? I know when people are working they should be carrying, but it's just tough. We have to give up some freedoms for security. It's a fine line and sucks the we live in this world but we gotta go with it.
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