A German businessman was briefly detained in Tuscaloosa, Alabama last week for violating the state’s new immigration law by not having proper identification.
He had been stopped by police because his rental vehicle didn’t have a tag, and when he could only produce a German identification card, he was arrested and taken to police headquarters.
The 46-year-old Mercedes Benz executive was released after an associate retrieved his passport, visa and German driver’s license from his hotel room, according to a Friday report in the Associated Press.
The length of his detainment and the status of his court case weren’t immediately known, the AP reported.
Republican governor Robert Bentley, a supporter of the law, called the state’s homeland security director, Spencer Collier, to get briefed on the arrest after hearing of it.
“It sounds like the officer followed the statute correctly,” Collier said after speaking to Tuscaloosa Police Chief Steven Anderson.
He also said that he has made at least a dozen similar calls about detentions under the newly enacted legislation, which is currently being challenged by the Justice Department in a federal appeals court.
“It’s just to make sure they’re using best practices and following the law,” he said.
He also said that a similar scenario would have only resulted in a ticket and a court summons before the new law took effect.
The Justice Department first filed a lawsuit against Alabama over its immigration law on August 1. On September 28, federal judge Sharon Blackburn upheld most of the law. The legislation, signed into law by Gov. Bentley in June, was supposed to take effect on September 1.
A Mercedes-Benz spokesperson said that the man was visiting Alabama on business. The company’s first American assembly plant is located just east of Tuscaloosa.