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Forum: Regional: North America

Canada, Mexico, USA - routes, maps, advice etc

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#33: Re: Wondering whether new Arizona immigration law will change bike tourists' plans (thread)
By John Nettles on Thu 29 Apr 2010 21:33 (US/Pacific) Edit Delete in reply to #1     Reply (2)   Printable Relation | Link | Bookmark | Report
"Am wondering whether bike tourists are thinking about whether they should change summer travel plans to avoid the state?

- Would a non-white/non-English-speaking traveler feel less welcome traveling in Arizona after this summer?"

I feel if they are law abiding, then no. But then I am a plain old white guy.

"- How do you feel about being asked for your "papers" if pulled over for a traffic violation?"

When I travel outside the country (even Canada) I have to carry my passport with me. I fail to see how this is any different in our country. If I am pulled over for speeding in Arizona, Alberta, Chihuahua, or anywhere in the world, I think it would be perfectly normal to be asked for some identification. However, I personally have no idea how they tell if a non-USA person (say a Norwegian) is here legally or illegally. That would probably tick me off if I had to argue with them after I have given them the passport (or whatever) but then it is a verification issue I would not like, not the law.

"- Will the new law give law enforcement more reason to "hassle" or question bike tourists?"

If the cops want a reason to question you, they already will find a way without this law.

"- Does this make "stealth camping" riskier? Is anyone worried that if your "papers" aren't in order you'll spend a night in jail instead of being asked to "pack up and move along.""

Even ACA does not recommend stealth camping in southern NM (at least for the GDMBR). They don't say why but I assume it is because they have had reports of danger. If I know there may be hungry beings (large animals or man), I am more reluctant to hide out (one of my bigger concerns on an upcoming GDMBR tour is grizzlies). I wouldn't try to stealth camp in the drug areas of my hometown either so to me it is the characteristics of the area versus the actual area. As far as jail, I usually ask permission first or hide out "in plain site" like at a church.

All this to say that while I probably would go thru Arizona, if hassled there, I would avoid the area in the future as a way of saying "I don't like the way I was treated".

For instance, this past summer, I was accused of stealing two large money bags from a grocery store (and riding off at 12 mph) in Stephen, MN (population maybe 500). After a cop found me (not too many touring cyclists riding from Tulsa to Winnipeg in August) later that night 30 miles away, he questioned me, I volunteered to show him my stuff, he saw I was harmless and said I was accused probably because I was an outsider since "nobody in their town would do such a thing". Scary yes, and I will probably not recommend Stephen, MN as a destination, but feel the cop was just doing his job just as a cop in Arizona would be doing if they pulled someone over for speeding or whatever and asked for papers if you had no legal US identification.

To me, this law is more about Washington's failure to address realistic immigration laws/enforcement and border safety concerns and various states getting fed up with the lack of attention and the costs.


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