April 30, 2010

The MLBA has finally issued a statement on Arizona's Gestapo like immigration law:

New York, NY, Friday, April 30, 2010 … The following statement was issued today by Major League Baseball Players Association Executive Director Michael Weiner regarding the immigration law recently passed by the state of Arizona.

“The recent passage by Arizona of a new immigration law could have a negative impact on hundreds of Major League players who are citizens of countries other than the United States. These international players are very much a part of our national pastime and are important members of our Association. Their contributions to our sport have been invaluable, and their exploits have been witnessed, enjoyed and applauded by millions of Americans. All of them, as well as the Clubs for whom they play, have gone to great lengths to ensure full compliance with federal immigration law.

“The impact of the bill signed into law in Arizona last Friday is not limited to the players on one team. The international players on the Diamondbacks work and, with their families, reside in Arizona from April through September or October. In addition, during the season, hundreds of international players on opposing Major League teams travel to Arizona to play the Diamondbacks. And, the spring training homes of half of the 30 Major League teams are now in Arizona. All of these players, as well as their families, could be adversely affected, even though their presence in the United States is legal. Each of them must be ready to prove, at any time, his identity and the legality of his being in Arizona to any state or local official with suspicion of his immigration status. This law also may affect players who are U.S. citizens but are suspected by law enforcement of being of foreign descent.

“The Major League Baseball Players Association opposes this law as written. We hope that the law is repealed or modified promptly. If the current law goes into effect, the MLBPA will consider additional steps necessary to protect the rights and interests of our members.

“My statement reflects the institutional position of the Union. It was arrived at after consultation with our members and after consideration of their various views on this controversial subject.”

Good for the players to speak out over this issue. Like so many athletes before them, they refuse to put themselves in the middle of a political debate, but this one really has consequences for them. I think the pressure we've all been putting on baseball so far is working. Keep it up.

I've also contacted the Angels' owner, Artie Moreno, who is from Arizona for comment and so far he is ducking me.

Here's more reaction from MLBers since non-U.S. players don't even bring their "papers" with them:

“There’s no distinguishing characteristic between an undocumented alien and someone who’s here legally,” said Glen Wasserstein, a partner with the Immigration Law Group in Washington. “How do you possibly have reasonable suspicion? Everybody of Hispanic orientation will be scrutinized.

“Why would you bring your passport and visa with you?”

Currently, players don’t. One major league executive said his team’s director of minor league operations collects the passports of foreign players and keeps them in a safe at the team’s minor league facility. The policy is in place so the teenage players don’t lose the paperwork, which includes a P Visa that the government issues to “internationally recognized entertainers or athletes.”

Nice, they don't even carry their "stinking papers." Also there's a push to have MLB move the 2011 All Star game out of Arizona until they change the law.

Faceboook contact here.

Twitter here.

Remember, the NFL forced Arizona to recognize MLK Day in order to host a Super Bowl.

The league gave Arizona a provisional bid to host the Super Bowl in 1993 with one stipulation: Make Martin Luther King Jr. Day an official state holiday. Voters, put off by the request, rejected the plan. The NFL yanked the Super Bowl and didn’t return until 1996 – by which time the King vote had passed.

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