• Nov 22nd 2011 at 2:00PM
  • 491
A Mercedes-Benz executive was recently pulled over and ... A Mercedes-Benz executive was recently pulled over and arrested in Alabama for not having proper identification with him (khawkins04, Flickr).
Alabama's desire to keep out illegal immigrants may be running counter to its desire to attract international automakers.

Under the state's new immigration policy, which requires anyone stopped by police to show proper identification, a German executive with Mercedes Benz was arrested this weekend.

It played out like a scene sounds like it could come from a World War II Gestapo movie: 46-year-old Detlev Hager was driving down the road in a rental car, when a police officer noticed something amiss with the car – initial reports say it was missing registration tags, but Tuscaloosa Police Chief Steve Anderson insists the car was missing license plates. The officer pulled Hager over, and asked for his papers.

All Hager could produce was his German identification. His passport, which shows he was legally in the country on a visa, was back at his hotel room.

Hager was arrested and charged under the immigration law for not having the proper paperwork. He was released on his own recognizance after a colleague went back to his hotel room and retrieved his paperwork. He has a court date set in the next few weeks to determine his ultimate punishment.

The arrest has caught national attention to Alabama's law, which could be interpreted to require paperwork to prove immigration status for things like getting flu shots.

"I'm not surprised at the amount of attention this has drawn," Anderson said. "I expected it would take something like this to get attention."

Since the law was enacted in October, 66 people have been arrested in Tuscaloosa alone, Anderson said. He's unsure if any of those arrested were actually illegal immigrants: 33 were black males, 9 black females, 16 were Hispanic males, 1 Hispanic female, 3 were white males and 4 were white females.

Slade Blackwell, an Alabama state senator, told the New York Times that the law needs to be modified.

"The longer the bill has been out, the more unintended consequences we have found," he told the paper. "All of us realize we need to change it."

Mercedes' first full year of production in Alabama was in 1998, when it produced 68,800 vehicles. It was the first automaker to take a gamble on producing cars in the southern state, which had no history of auto production but threw tons of money at Mercedes to set up shop there.

In 1993, the state gave Mercedes tax incentives worth $253 million, or about $169,000 per job, to open that factory, according to the Alabama Automotive Manufacturers Association.

Now Alabama has two more auto assembly plants, also run by foreign automakers Honda and Hyundai. Toyota and International Diesel produce engines in the state. There are more than 90 automotive suppliers in Alabama that serve either Hyundai, Honda or Mercedes.

Which means Alabama gets its fair share of foreign business travelers.

Competition for foreign autos investment is intense – jobs at auto plants are a boon for any state and local government that can convince an automaker to build a plant in their region.

The auto industry accounts for 6.8% of Alabama's labor force, according to a report by the Center for Automotive Research. For comparison, the industry accounts for 4.4% of the nation's workforce. In Michigan, it's 21.8% of the workforce.

States often throw huge tax incentives at auto companies to get these jobs. States like them because they pay high wages to people who often don't have college degrees, the automakers take very good care of their employees and the plants attract scads of suppliers which also pay solid wages. People who work at the plants spend money at local restaurants, shops and even car dealerships.

The arrest "highlights the disastrous consequences of profiling, as well as the potential threat to foreign investment in the state that enacts and enforces laws that lead to arrests of anyone who doesn't speak, act or look in a 'non-suspicious manner,'" Rep. Charles A. Gonzalez, a Texas Democrat who chairs the Congressional Hispanic Caucus, told FoxNews.com.

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    • 1 Second Ago
      • 3 Years Ago
      Yes I would, I had the pleasure of visiting the Philippines in 2009 to 2010, I had to go register every 2 months & anyone over here should have their papers in order too, I had to pay too, I don't care what state they are in they should have their paper work in order & if you don't have papers you should be deported at once, I don't think they should be living on our SS & drawing as much as they do, I am disable & I can't even draw on my SS because I haven't paid in enough & you think I feel sorry for them???? Hope every one has a Happy Thanksgiving & a Merry Christmas???
      • 3 Years Ago
      • 3 Years Ago
      "The arrest highlights the disastrous effects of profiling" --ARE YOU KIDDING? How is it profiling when blacks, hispanics, whites, males and females have been arrested? And now this German man -- wait, does the author of this article think the police could tell by looking at him that HE WAS GERMAN?!?! These articles get dumber and dumber. ANYWHERE you go, if you get stopped without ID, you are likely to go to jail until you can produce it. Big deal. No story here.
      • 3 Years Ago
      As a foreigner myself, living LEGALLY in the USA , I do carrie ALL my identification with me even if i go to the local gas station, Passport, US Drivers licence, Green card, SS #, and whatever else i have to carrie. Herr Hagler has only to blame himself for this. If he does it in Germany, he will be taken to court as well, no excuses.
      • 3 Years Ago
      Talk to the cops like a dumb redneck, and they won't haul you in. If you're furrin', you're busted!
      • 3 Years Ago
      That is a good law to have, if you can not show a proper ID , arrest them, deport them,etc. I was born an American and I have had to show proper ID many times in my life, everyone else living here should live by the same laws, or go back to where you came from. You are free to leave anytime you do not like it here. And as far as workers in the auto plants and in the state of Alabama, if they are citizens and have proper ID , they have nothing to worry about. A big HIP-HIP-HURRAY for Alabama enforcing a law that is needed, and needs to be enforced ! I am tired of hearing about all these people complaining about showing proper ID. , rights violations and so on............ I have carried my ID on me for 60 years, and it is no big deal to me to do so, or to show it when asked for it. Every state should enforce this law, maybe they would catch some of the unwanted and un-desireables that are wandering around, and deport them, and I am saying this as kindly as I can................. Anywhere else in the world you would be in jail without a proper ID, and you may not even get to make a phone call or contact an attorney for days, or weeks, and in some places maybe never................... A proper ID is not much to ask for considering all the freedom you have living in America . It is still the best place to live in the world. No matter where you come from, you have the right to be what ever you want to be, do what ever you want to , and practice what ever religion you believe.................................. All you have to do is abide by a few simple laws , be here legally, and you have nothing to worry about. God Bless America, Land of the Free, Home of the Brave.
      • 3 Years Ago
      Typical cracker BS...they can't have any more late night parties in white sheets, so it's time to go legit and start picking on the aliens (ET phone home).
      • 3 Years Ago
      If I were in another country and didn't have proper payers, I would be held as well. Carry what is necessary. Heck without proper paperwork I would not even be allowed back on a Cruise ship that I'd left for a few hours-that was in2004, not any new law. A foreign student and several kids went to Canada for a night, not even thinking about him being from another country. The kid could not get back in to the US because he didn't bring his papers, and a counselor from the university had to go and verify knowing him and bring copies for him to get back in and that was in the 80's. This is really nothing new, things have just gotten so criminally lax in this country. Going to Mexico, going to Canada, going to the islands, I had and have to show proof. If I were stopped for a traffic ticket or a fenderbender, same thing applies. Especially now, just because he's a Mer. exec. does not mean that he is exempt from things.
      • 3 Years Ago
      I fail to see what the problem is. I am a US citizen currently living and working in Europe on a visa. I am required by law to carry my passport with me at ALL TIMES in EVERY EU COUNTRY! I am a guest in another country and I have no problem with abiding by what is a very simple and common sense law. The law is in place for your own safety! If there is ever an emergency, the passport gives you the ability to immediately speak with your nations consul and enter the embassy when needed. Not carrying your passport when you are in another country is extremely foolish.
      • 3 Years Ago
      And yet President Obama’s uncle now living in the U.S. as an illegal alien for more than 20 years caught driving under the influence. Guess what he’s back as an employee as a clerk in a liquor store, like if nothing ever happened.
      • 3 Years Ago
      When I was in Germany, Japan, Hong Kong, Korea, Macau and the Bahamas, I was told that I would be required to show my passport and documents upon request to any official or law enforcement officer and that I could be ARRESTED if I did not produce them. I always carried them for just that reason. This guy had to know the same thing, but he violated the law by forgetting his passport. Tough.
      • 3 Years Ago
      Way to go Alabama! That officer should be given a metal for "daring" to enforce the laws. I've traveled all through Europe and I can absolutely tell you that you better have your "papers" a.k.a. passport with you,at all times, or else. By the way, I heard today that the unemployment rate in Alabama is going down. Looks like the Americans are now doing the work that the Illegals can't do.
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