The state of Alabama’s new immigration law made an unlikely victim on Friday, when a Mercedes-Benz manager from Germany was arrested for not having a driver’s license with him.
Police stopped a rental vehicle for not having a tag and asked the driver for his licence. The 46-year old manager only had a German identification card, so he was arrested and taken to police headquarters, Tuscaloosa Police Chief Steven Anderson told the Associated Press.
The executive, whose name wasn’t made public, was charged with violating the immigration law as he didn’t have proper identification. However, he was released after an associate brought in his passport, visa and German driver’s license from the hotel where he was staying.
The new law requires that police check citizenship status during traffic stops and take anyone who doesn’t have proper identification to a magistrate. “If it were not for the immigration law, a person without a license in their possession wouldn’t be arrested like this,” Anderson said. Previously, drivers who lacked licenses received a ticket and a court summons.
Mercedes-Benz spokeswoman Felyicia Jerald said the man was visiting Alabama on business. “This was an unfortunate situation, but the incident was resolved when our colleague was able to provide his driver’s license and other documents to Tuscaloosa police,” Jerald said. The only Mercedes-Benz plant in the United States is situated east of Tuscaloosa.