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Protestors to picket the Cubs-Dbacks game. I kinda wish they wouldn't

Apr 29, 2010, 10:47 AM EDT

As you probably know, Arizona passed a law that makes the failure to carry immigration documents a crime and gives
the police broad power to detain anyone suspected of being in the
country illegally. Supporters believe it to be a necessary move to combat illegal immigration to the state. Opponents call it an open invitation for
harassment and discrimination against Hispanics regardless of their
citizenship status.  I have my own opinions about it all and I’m sure you do too, but that’s not terribly important in this forum because this forum is about baseball.

But the controversy over Arizona SB 1070 is now hitting baseball, as people are protesting the Arizona Diamondbacks wherever they go:

Today at Chicago’s Wrigley Field and in just about every city the team
visits, there is expected to be a protest outside the stadium against
Arizona’s new immigration-enforcement law, Senate Bill 1070. One of the people organizing and encouraging such protests is Tony
Herrera, the Arizona representative for a national movement (it has a
Facebook page) called “Boycott Arizona 2010.”

“This team is an ambassador for Arizona,” Herrera told me. “And the
owner, Mr. (Ken) Kendrick, is a big supporter of Republican politics.
This new law was a Republican bill. Until the law is changed, there
should be protests.”

Some people are also suggesting that Major League Baseball take away the 2011 All-Star Game which will take place in Chase Field.  The odds of that happening are somewhere below the odds of Lou Dobbs joining those protests, but people are asking it all the same.

I like to rouse rabble as much as the next guy, but protests based on attenuated links kind of irk me. Yes, the Dbacks are from Arizona and yes the team’s owner — one of several dozen in a large ownership group, by the way — generally supports the party that sponsored the legislation, but the Diamondbacks and any fans heading to Wrigley Field this weekend are innocent bystanders here. I’m guessing they no more appreciate having a ballgame interrupted by immigration politicking any more than Super Bowl viewers were interested in listening to Tim Tebow go on whatever it was he was going on about in that boring little commercial that caused all the hubub.

People can obviously do what they want because the First Amendment is pretty damn awesome, but I can’t help but think these sorts of protests and calls for boycots are at best ineffective in furthering the protesters’ cause and potentially detrimental. If you’re running late to the game and you have to navigate a picket line outside the gate, you’re probably not going to be very sympathetic to the protester’s cause.  And if calls for boycotts are actually heeded they won’t hurt the owners of the Diamondbacks nearly as much as they’ll hurt the concession guys and stadium sweepers who get laid off because business is slow.  These things are great for some short-lived publicity, but short-lived publicity is generally not the best way to affect political change. That takes sustained activism, legal action and other less-sexy things than jumping in front of TV cameras.

But I guess my biggest beef with this sort of thing is that when I go to a baseball game, I’m looking to escape reality for a little while and it angries up my blood if I have to have to think about the real world for those three hours.  Maybe that makes me a bad citizen or something, but it’s how I feel. And I feel that way whether I agree with the protesters or not.

UPDATE: If you’re looking for more on this, BIll at the Daily Something has some.

  1. Jonny5 - Apr 29, 2010 at 12:49 PM

    Actually, I think that’s false rhetoric common man. What you describe is racial profiling by police which the law isn’t about. It’s about pulling over a person in the process of breaking a law, or going to a call about illegal activity, then determining their immigration or citizenship status. Not doing gestapo like raids as many would like everyone to think. In the past people with no SS# and no traceability have been released, never pay the fine, then go onto commit more crime. They also were never sent through the proper channels to determine whether they should be deported or not. Meanwhile they live off the services provided by the citizens they are dependents of essentially. Are there laws in Arizona already in place which address racial profiling, which is going after people because of race only? I don’t think so, and there should be. I strongly feel the law is Just as long as police follow a code of not going after people because of race ,but only checking those in the process of breaking a law. Which I feel is, and should be the intent. This is more of a political blog thing so I’ll just step away, but that’s my take on it. If cops will be racial profiling I’m going to be against it, but again I feel that isn’t the intent.

  2. thatGuy - Apr 29, 2010 at 12:57 PM

    The whole protest is dumb. The constitution gives states a right to govern how their people wish, as long as the law is constituational(whether or not this is remains to be seen but I imagine it will be years until the Supreme Court weighs in on it). The fact that the polls in Arizona show overwhelming support means no other state should give a crap, its their state they can govern how they see fit. If they want to make existing federal laws more enforcable by passing some laws of their own so be it.

  3. thatGuy - Apr 29, 2010 at 1:01 PM

    CG Hudson- Its not against the law to be in a militia, as long as terroristic plans are not being made. It is against the law to be in this country illegally.

  4. Judi - Apr 29, 2010 at 1:18 PM

    I have no idea what you’re talking about with your militia comment. I have no more sympathy for crazed people trying to overthrow our government than I do for people who sneak into our country illegally. The commenter who stated that no one is being pulled over for being brown is exactly right. If they are involved in illegal activity the police that investigate will then determine their immigration status. What is so wrong about that? And making it sound like they have to carry a 20 pound book everywhere to prove their status is nonsense. We all carry our driver’s license with us because if we are pulled over, we kind of need it. Why the big worry over someone carrying their green card, visa, or whatever slip of paper proves their status?

  5. YouthofToday - Apr 29, 2010 at 1:57 PM

    I for one will not be attending any spring training games nor visiting the state of Arizona until this ridiculous law is repealed.
    Seriously, how can you support legislation that makes it legal for the cops to stop anybody and ask them for papers? What is this, the freaking Soviet Union?
    MLB is going to have a serious problem on their hands in regards to the ’11 All-Star game… especially if a player in the AL refuses to go the the game (somebody with the politics of Delgado or Maggs, whom I don’t agree with BTW).

  6. CG Hudson - Apr 29, 2010 at 2:08 PM

    The commenter who stated that no one is being pulled over for being brown is WRONG as that is precisely what this statute permits and likely encourages. The ability to determine immigration status of a person after the fact of being detained for a separate crime is already law in many places, including my home county here in Georgia. This Arizona law makes it possible for the police to stop ANYone they suspect as “illegal”. There’s no way anyone can tell me with a straight face that such a law wouldn’t be enforced based strictly on one’s appearance — which is the point I was trying to make with the militia thing and white people, not that I presumed you sympathize with the militia movement (how would I know?). I could have used the same example but with black people and drugs. (of course, there are already PLENTY of racist federal drug laws on the books but I digress…).
    captcha: wooly situation

  7. The Common Man - Apr 29, 2010 at 2:08 PM

    Just to clear up a point, Jonny, it is not at all clear that, “It’s about pulling over a person in the process of breaking a law, or going to a call about illegal activity, then determining their immigration or citizenship status.” In fact, the bill applies “FOR ANY LAWFUL CONTACT MADE BY A LAW ENFORCEMENT OFFICIAL OR AGENCY.” It does not, however, define what “lawful contact” is and there is no legal consensus on the definition of it. Does it mean during a traffic stop? Yes. Does it mean saying hello on the street? Maybe. Nor does it define what constitutes reasonable suspicion that an individual might be an illegal immigrant. Rather, the bill seems to leave it up to the law enforcement official in question to make the determination.

  8. James - Apr 29, 2010 at 2:14 PM

    What would make the most impact is if the Hispanic players on the Diamondbacks all decided to join the boycott of the DBacks.

  9. PaulK - Apr 29, 2010 at 2:21 PM

    As I understand it, the recently passed bill isn’t about the police having to check the legal/illegal status of people while in the process of stopping them for other crimes, it’s about the police being ordered to stop people solely for the crime of being an illegal alien. In otherwords, if a police officer sees someone that they suspect is an illegal alien, they must stop the person and ask for their documents.
    The issue that people have against the bill, I believe, isn’t that it’s trying to get rid of illegal aliens, or that it’s requiring people to have documents on them- it’s that, when you think about it, the police are mostly going to target non-white folks. If the police were stopping EVERYONE and asking for proof of legal status, then ok, it’s an equal opportunity law (that still kinda infringes on our civil rights). But in reality, what police officer do you think is going to stop a white person for reasonably believing that they are illegal?
    Most people, when the word “illegal alien” comes up in the U.S., immediately think of Mexicans, I would think, and to a lesser extent, asians and middle easterners. So it’s pretty much those people who would be targeted/profiled/kept-an-eye-on, don’t you think? What other red-flags would indicate to the police that someone would be worthy of being stopped for possibly being an illegal alien other than the color of their skin?

  10. Jonny5 - Apr 29, 2010 at 2:59 PM

    Well I’m sure with today’s concern over the law that must be addressed and defined. I’m sure Arizona isn’t going to enjoy being sued for infringing on constitutional rights. If they do indeed infringe on a persons constitutional rights by racial profiling.
    I will support the law if it DOES NOT employ racial profiling as a tactic. Today, we still don’t know if that’s the case or not as you said. As we see, it’s a grey area and until it’s clear to all we should all be leary of the bill. I assume it won’t be very long before this issue is cleared up and we can all choose a side, until then I’ll reserve my opinion on it. I understood it as questioning a person who is engaged in breaking the law, maybe I was wrong, maybe not. Thanks for pointing the “grey area” out for me though, as I missed it.

  11. The Common Man - Apr 29, 2010 at 3:23 PM

    It’s not though, Jonny, according to the overwhelming majority of lawyers examining the bill. The Arizona government knew it was going to get sued and probably lose, which is (one of the reasons) why the governor refused to sign the bill, and his veto had to be overturned. The Arizona legislature was scoring easy political points while passing the buck to law enforcement on how to apply the law that they do not fund (because the law mandates that Arizona law enforcement transport anyone caught to immigration officials). I urge you to go read the bill ( As far as these things go, it’s relatively short.

  12. jwb - Apr 29, 2010 at 3:25 PM

    “If the police were stopping EVERYONE and asking for proof of legal status, then ok, it’s an equal opportunity law”
    That is exactly what they will have to do in order to avoid racial profiling lawsuits. So carry your passports or birth certificates at all times or expect to spend some time at Sheriff Arpaio’s Holiday Camp or some other equally charming detention space.
    As for picketing baseball games involving the Diamondbacks, that’s just silly.

  13. Tom R - Apr 29, 2010 at 3:41 PM

    Jason W is exactly right. The point of a protest is to raise awareness about an issue of concern. Being faced with the reality of the suffering of others is always inconvenient for those who are normally able to opt out of that reality. The hardship of enduring a protest before or after a leisure event seems a lot more bearable than, say, enduring racial profiling or police harassment.

  14. Matt S. - Apr 29, 2010 at 3:51 PM

    28% of MLB players are foreign born so to say that targeting baseball and its association with Arizona is unrelated just doesn’t match that fact. A boycott of foreign players at the All-Star game would be a great start, but moving the Cactus league would be even better. When the Gov. of Arizona says that this will have no economic impact it is incumbent on all who disagree with this law to show her she is wrong. Baseball is a huge force in Arizona and should not be allowed to take no position.

  15. BC - Apr 29, 2010 at 3:52 PM

    Well, how will the law be applied in practical terms anyway? Basically, unless someone commits a crime, how are you going to be able to search them for their papers anyway?
    Terry vs. Ohio pretty much guarantees that you can’t just search someone because you don’t like their face. How does one build probable cause here, by word of mouth? Do illegal immigrants have a system of lapel pins or ascots or something?
    PS. For thos of you playing at home:

  16. Jonny5 - Apr 29, 2010 at 4:26 PM

    I read it front to back, I think what needs to be done now is they need to enact a racial profiling law. New Jersey has done so already. I wouldn’t say 1070 should be abolished, but they need to go about it in a way that isn’t picking people by race to verify status. The statement “lawful contact” would apply to a racial profiling law should it be set into place.
    Would you support the law if Racial profiling were illegal and the checking was done only after contact for breaking the law?

  17. DLaws - Apr 29, 2010 at 5:29 PM

    If Arizona or any other state wants to enforce immigration laws, I have no problem. This law seems to be wrote in a dumb way. Under this law the LEOs in Arizona can demand proof of citizenship from any person they choose to. So even if you are just driving through you must have proof of citizenship. If they want to do something extra they should put more patrols on the borders and check employers for undocumented workers. This seems to be more of a political statement than one that would have practical applications. This law seems doomed to backfire.

  18. Ron - Apr 29, 2010 at 7:10 PM

    People seem to forget the key word in “illegal immigration” is ‘illigal’. As in breaking the law and committing a crime.
    As an immigrant myself, but one who did it legally, I don’t see why anyone should worry about this to much. I don’t carry my passport or immigration paperwork with me, but that’s my decision to take the chance. If I’m stopped, it’s up to me to prove I’m allowed to be where I am legally, by providing that paperwork. If I can’t then I’m illegal.
    It’s a simple solution, really. If you’re an immigrant, carry your paperwork with you. If you are asked, it’s no problem. If you don’t have it, it means you’re illegal or lazy for not carrying it. Legal immigrants who can prove they are legal will not be sent to a concentration camp or deported. Illegal iimmigrants, and again, I use the word illegal (as in committing a crime) will be sent home.
    No one is suggesting pogroms against legal immigrants. They are trying to get illegal immigrants back where they came from. I agree completely.

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