AMA: Can a German national be forced to show papers?

AMA Ask Me Anything

Question:  i am a german and i am researching all about the situation with gov and law in the USA. i am married to an american woman and we have a wonderful son. i am traveling back and forth between berlin and montana. so please could you explain how all this comes down on me if i use the same methods in dealing with cops in the usa. do i as a tourist have to ID to a cop? can they demand it from me even i didnt do anything wrong?

Answer: While I am not an expert, here’s my take:

  1. I would say the union/federal agencies do not have jurisdiction if thou is on state land. I don’t expect union/federal agents can ask thou for ID-entity. They are operating under the presumption that all state land is federal territory, but since that misconception is rampant, one may have to rebut it.
  2. The state peace officers may be able to ask thou for papers since thou is not a state national. I would presume they would have to prove they thought thou was not a state national. A suspicion of crime may not be necessary, which is the case with state nationals.
  3. I’m not surprised Germany is not really a nation-state, but instead a collection of nation-states. Each state likely has nationals, just like Florida or Ohio. There are more nation-states than we are led to believe!
  4. Is thou trying to be naturalized as a Montanan?
  5. I would also browse the articles on SupremeLawLibrary such as these by Richard MacDonald.

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