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With the passage of America’s toughest state laws on illegal immigration, Arizona law enforcement officers will be able to ask a person to prove he or she is legally in the United States and in Arizona if Governor Jan Brewer signs the new law into effect. Odds are she will.

Obviously, immigrants with Green Cards can do this.

But what about the rest of us?

If you ever had to prove you were a US citizen upon re-entering the United States before passports were required, this is not an easy thing to do for most people if you don’t have a passport. It used to be that a certified copy of your birth certificate would work, but not much else. Your dog can get a Social Security card, and drivers licenses only prove how bad you looked when your photo was taken.

While there is a lot of opposition to some kind of national identity card ( remember having to “show me your papers” in Nazi Germany), until and unless the federal courts throw out the state law, legal residents of the state are going to need some way to prove they are legal.

Passports should work, if you have one. I have carried my passport for years as I cross through the Border Patrol check point on Interstate 19 north of Tubac. While it is personally offensive to have to prove my citizenship inside my own country, it saves a lot of time and grief to have certain proof in hand.

Before starting to use my passport, I carried a certified copy of my birth certificate with me in my car. The problem with this is cars and trucks are routinely stolen in the border region, and besides drug smugglers getting a “throw away” car at my expense, I don’t need to give them a birth certificate as well. Besides car and truck theft, identity theft in support of illegal immigration is a huge problem.

So how about wallet sized official birth certificates?

Think about how much money the government records offices that issue birth certificates could make issuing little plastic covered official certified birth certificates the size of credit cards.
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