Much has been said and written lately about the new Arizona immigration-enforcement law and how that law will (or might) impact people illegally living or working in the state, or those who are legally visiting the state from some place outside the United States. However, the Arizona state law designed to enforce existing immigration law also applies to anyone driving in or visiting the state for any reason, including native-born citizens of the United States.

According to the new law:

Requirements for proof of citizenship are limited to: a valid Arizona driver’s license; a valid Arizona nonoperating identification license; a valid tribal enrollment card or other tribal identification; or any valid federal, state, or local government-issued identification, if the issuer requires proof of legal presence in the United States as a condition of issuance.

That means if you are stopped by police in Arizona and they request proof of citizenship you had been prepared. Even if you are not driving at the time you are still required to produce one of the above listed documents as proof of your citizenship in the United States. Without the proper identification you risk being immediately incarcerated for violating state law. Once you produce the required documents you will likely be released from jail but until then, because you are in violation of state law, they have the right to keep you in jail for as long as they wish, or deport you to the place they think you are actually from.

You should always be driving defensively and following all local traffic laws, but even if you are police still have the right to stop you. Be certain you carefully and politely follow their instructions and you should be back on your way without further incident.