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Congressman Invites You to Play Challenging 'Pick Out the Immigrant' Game

Illustration for article titled Congressman Invites You to Play Challenging Pick Out the Immigrant Game

Illinois Congressman Luis Gutierrez is genuinely impressed with the psychic abilities of Arizona law enforcement officials, who, thanks to a "show me your papers" provision in an immigration law the Supreme Court just ruled constitutional, will now will be able to and check the immigration status of anyone they've stopped for committing a crime that they suspect may be in this country illegally. What's extra impressive about these law enforcement officials is that they can tell, just by looking, who is here legally and who is here illegally, a skill that most Americans probably do not possess. Don't believe me? Try to play the "Pick Out the Immigrant" game yourself.

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Unfortunately, in this game, as in life, none of the potential immigrants are running around looking like how immigrants look in racist political cartoons your great uncle won't stop forwarding everyone in the family. No one is sleeping under a cactus or standing in line to get American passports for three yowling anchor babies or forming street gangs in previously idyllic suburbs. Instead, they're looking, uh, normal.

Based purely on appearance, whose papers would you check? Justin Bieber's, or Selena Gomez's? If you were an Arizona cop and pulled over a van containing Menudo, would you check their papers? How about Geraldo Rivera's? How about Ted Koppel's? The answers, as answers tend to do, may surprise you.

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So, how'd you do? Do you have what it takes to be an Arizona police officer? Or will your substandard immigrant-sniffing skills land you in non-immigrant-hating New Mexico?

[Colorlines, Facebook]

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DISCUSSION

Also a fun game? Pick out the Native American. It's next to impossible, because people commonly defy stereotypes and our perceptions of what each race or nationality or ethnicity looks like is usually based on stereotypes. Especially fun in Arizona because our fabricated borders run through peoples homelands, and a Tohono O'odham woman isn't usually technically considered either a US citizen or a Mexican citizen, she's a tribal citizen. Where are her papers? What do they mean to the cops, especially under this law? Do they know how to tell an Indian from a Mexican? Do their magical powers extend that far? I love this senator, he reminds me of some fabulous professors I've had. Race is not a biological reality and we need to stop pretending that the color of someone's skin tells you something important about them other than, you know, the color of their skin.