We Have Become a ‘Papers Please’ Society

For those of us who are not young, one of the operational definitions of freedom was not living in a ‘papers, please’ society–that is, you didn’t need to provide internal security officials documentation to travel freely if you were a U.S. citizen. There was even a reference to this in the movie Red October, where the defecting Soviet first mate is excited that he can drive to Montana without papers.

Well, in the era of Il Trumpe, we’re moving away from this. Rapidly (boldface mine):

An 18-year-old Dallas-born U.S. citizen has been in the custody of U.S. Customs and Border Protection and Immigration and Customs Enforcement for more than three weeks, his attorney says.

Now his family fears he may be deported.

Francisco Erwin Galicia was detained at a CBP checkpoint in Falfurrias on June 27, said Claudia Galan, his attorney.

Galicia was traveling with his 17-year-old brother Marlon Galicia and a group of friends from Edinburg where they live to Ranger College in North Texas for a soccer scouting event when they came upon a CBP checkpoint, said Sanjuana Galicia, his mother.

It was about 8 p.m. Marlon, who was born in Mexico and lacked legal status, had only been through a border checkpoint on school trips and had never been pressed to provide travel documents.

But this time was different, Marlon said. He had only a school ID. His brother was carrying only his Texas ID, which can only be obtained with a Social Security number.

“We were confident that we’d be able to pass. We were going to do something good for our futures,” he said. “I didn’t imagine this could happen and now I’m so sad that I’m not with my family,” Marlon said by phone from Reynosa, Mexico, where he is staying with his grandmother.

After two days in detention, Marlon signed a voluntary deportation form.

I signed because I wanted to talk with my mom. Now, we just have to wait and see and hope that they release my brother,” Marlon said.

Francisco Galicia told his mother, who lives in Edinburg, that he was detained because he didn’t have his U.S. passport. But she said he did present CBP with his Texas ID.

Galicia wasn’t allowed to use the phone for the three weeks he was in CBP custody, Sanjuana said. But he has been able to make collect calls to his mother since since Saturday, when Galicia was transferred to ICE’s custody…

I presented then with his original birth certificate and other documents and they ignored them. So now I’ve faxed over all the documents to the ICE agent handling the case,” Galan said. “He’s going on a full month of being wrongfully detained. He’s a U.S. citizen and he needs to be released now.”

…The ICE detainee locator system shows Francisco is being held at the South Texas Detention Facility in Pearsall and [incorrectly] lists him as being born in Mexico.

Sanjuana Galicia, Francisco’s mother, said she lived in Dallas from 1998-2001 and moved to South Texas after his birth.

Right now, this is mostly something brown people and people with foreign accents have to worry about–which, to be absolutely clear, is evil. But there are a lot of very stupid native-born white people who believe this can’t happen to them. I am at a loss at how, if CBP or ICE wanted to detain me for weeks, I would stop them. Like Galicia, my drivers license is a REAL ID, so if his drivers license ‘doesn’t count’, then mine doesn’t either. I also don’t carry around my passport (‘papers, please’…). And I’m old enough that my birth certificate, issued by the District of Columbia, probably wouldn’t be considered legitimate (hell, some DHS officials don’t even realize that the District of Columbia issues drivers licenses).

Oddly enough, a security system designed by Joe Fucking Lieberman and a bunch of other conservative Democratic ninnies makes us less free.

This, not the FEMA CAMPS! the fever swamps of the right were worried about in the 90s and aughts, is how we lose our freedom.

This entry was posted in Civil Liberties, Immigration. Bookmark the permalink.

3 Responses to We Have Become a ‘Papers Please’ Society

  1. Joe Shelby says:

    doesn’t the article, and the similar one about the ex-Marine (who had his passport, ID, military papers, and dog tag, and the ICE officers refused to look at a single one), belay the headline?

    We’re not in a “paper’s please” society: they don’t give a damn about your papers, they’re just going to arrest you. To hell with due process, warrants, or anything. All you have to be is dark-skinned and maybe with an accent.

    • Well, the “papers please society” IS just that – a situation where they say what the papers are and they say whether they’ll accept them or not.

      Just an FYI, REAL ID has nothing to do with proving citizenship of the U.S.. Only a passport or Birth Certificate showing birthplace in the US OR the certificates of naturalization. Immigrants and even visitors can get REAL ID – Students with F1 visas, H1B visas, and other work visas can get REAL ID here in Pennsylvania at least… it’s not restricted to us citizens & permanent residents.
      Of course anyone with a passport doesn’t actually need REAL ID for federal buildings & domestic flights. A passport (from anywhere) is good enough for that.

  2. Dwayne says:

    Yo read me on Twitter @gmendte

Comments are closed.