02/2012

Store Clerk Demands 'A-mer-i-can' ID

Enrique Corral

Shortly after Alabama passed HB 56, Enrique Corral, a 35-year-old Latino man who was born and raised in Texas, went to buy beer at a big box retailer near his suburban Birmingham home.

The cashier asked him for an “American ID.”

He thought it was odd. As he took out his wallet, the cashier emphasized the type of identification she wanted. “A-mer-i-can,” she said, stressing every syllable.

Enrique asked the cashier if a tourist visiting the United States would be unable to purchase beer from the store.


“She said, ‘If you have a problem, you can talk to my boss.’”

He showed the cashier his license and made the purchase. He then watched her as an African-American woman attempted to purchase beer. This time the cashier simply asked for “ID.”

“I said, ‘Hey why are you not asking for an American ID if this is what you said you have to say?’

“She told me it’s because I can tell that she’s American.”

He left the store angry. Enrique’s parents legally immigrated to the United States in the early 1980s. He’s a citizen and the brother of a U.S. Marine, but it appeared none of that mattered because he’s also a Latino living in Alabama.

“I felt like I was not American. I’ve never had any problem, and as soon as this law came into effect that’s when this took place.”

Enrique said the state’s anti-immigrant law has had a disturbing effect on people harboring prejudices against Latinos.

“The hateful people are hateful no matter what, but with this law they feel more empowered.” He summed up their new attitude under HB 56: “If I used to just spit on you, now I’m going to spit on you and kick you when you’re down.”

Photo and video by Sarah P. Reynolds