Tuesday, July 12, 2011

All-Star game: Foes of SB 1070 staging protest

All-Star game: Foes of SB 1070 staging protest

Opponents of Senate Bill 1070, Arizona's immigration law, are preparing to march to Chase Field Tuesday afternoon to picket outside Major League Baseball's All-Star game.

Salvador Reza, an organizer of the protest, said he expects 200 people to take part. Protestors will hold signs criticizing the law and urge people and players to boycott the game, Reza said.
Reza said the demonstration is intended to be peaceful.
"We are not going to engage in any confrontation," Reza said at a press conference Tuesday morning. "If anyone wants to confront us, we will just walk away."

The controversial law was intended to crack down on illegal immigrants in Arizona by requiring local police to check the status of suspected illegal immigrants. A federal judge put the most controversial parts of the law on hold days before the law went into effect a year ago in July.

At the All-Star game, proponents have indicated they also plan to stand outside Chase Field to demonstrate their support of the law.

Critics of the law have maintained the law would lead to racial profiling and civil rights violations of Hispanics by police. And although the law was placed mostly on hold, they say undocumented immigrants are routinely being deported after being stopped by police and turned over to federal immigration officials.

At the press conference at the Seventh Street headquarters of Los Comites de Defensa del Barrio, just a few blocks from Chase Field, opponents of the law said they were disappointed that Major League players have turned silent on the issue. About 27 percent of Major League players are Latinos and nearly 40 percent are minorities, according to a 2011 study by the Institute for Diversity and Ethics in Sport at the University of Central Florida.

They singled out Boston Red Sox first baseman Adrian Gonzalez, a Mexican-American. Last year, when Gonzalez was a member of the San Diego Padres, Gonzalez lambasted the law and said he pledged not to participate in the All-Star game if it was held in Phoenix. But after signing with the Red Sox, Gonzalez said his comments were misinterpreted and he planned to participate after all.

Enrique Morones, president and founder of Border Angels, a San Diego group that provides humanitarian assistance to undocumented migrants, said he believes Gonzalez reversed course because he now plays for a high-profile team and doesn't want to miss out on the national spotlight.

Still, Morones said he hopes Gonzalez will speak out, "because I assure you that when Adrian Gonzalez gets to the pearly gates, St. Peter is not going to ask him what his batting average was."

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