Sunday, July 18, 2010

Arizona Immigration Law Inspires Boycott by MLB Fans and Players Alike

Presente | Move The Game - Post Delivery

There is a lot of attention on MLB and Arizona's Immigration Law. People are upset because the Arizona Law looks like an excuse for racial profiling. For no other reason than the color of one's skin, law enforcement has been given the power to stop individuals and demand proof of citizenship. The law might have been passed because, as many of those who support the law claim, the Federal Government has been inept at controlling the border, but this country has far too many legal citizens who fit the description of what now constitutes reasonable suspicion and the right for harassment.

This is not just an issue confined to Arizona with supporters inside the state taking an "us" versus the world stance. It is not even an issue spreading in popularity only among the borders of the United States. Larry Wachs, conservative Atlanta radio talk show host, spouts,"Can you hear us now, Mexico? Can you hear us, now? Because this land is not your land. This land is our land. I pay for it. We work for it."

Obviously there is a problem and Immigration Law Reform is necessary. However, Arizona's Law, and the one being proposed in Arkansas, is just irresponsible. It has effectively created an environment that can be compared to Germany during World War II which forced Jews to have their paperwork ready at all times. Every American should be thinking through their family tree and highlighting the truth, most of us have our roots in immigration. "Give me your tired, your poor, your huddled masses yearning to be free," is the anthem this country was built upon. While being a minority classifies someone as part of a group smaller than the majority, minorities combined represent at least a quarter of the United States Population as a whole.

Arizona might have encouraged immigrants to keep on immigrating, but is also has given racism a legal cover. It also encourages minorities with every legal right to be here to put up with suspicion or leave. This is the crux behind why players who work for Major League Baseball and their fans both are doing everything they can to keep this issue front and center. Arizona's law has made a stereotype, immigrants are criminals, a De facto truth. The law might state it as illegal immigrants, but the power to enforce the law casts the shadow of suspicion only on the color of skin.

Taking a look at the thinking behind the law and some better ideas is necessary.

Illegal immigrants are responsible for a wave of violent crime

"The people who live within 60 to 80 miles of the U.S.-Mexico border have been terrorized by the Mexican drug cartels and human smugglers. One rancher testified that 300 to 1,200 people cross his ranch every day, vandalizing his property, stealing his vehicles, cutting down his fences and leaving trash."- Arizona State Sen. Sylvia Allen

This is the base, the reasoning Immigration Law Reform is necessary. Sadly it neglects to recognize how many of these same people coming over the border are fleeing the very things this Senator is using to illustrate the problem. Even worse, the statement makes the assumption that illegal immigration is solely the choice of career criminals.

This idea about criminal activity being tied directly to immigration ignores how Arizona's Law now strengthens the criminal enterprises of those who have the legal right to be here. It also ignores the second most popular idea generating support for Arizona's Immigration Law.

With so many Americans out of work, immigrants illegally living in Arizona are costing citizens' jobs

Sorry, Senator Sylvia Allen's point about crime had some credibility, but this one is one is hogwash. While it is true illegal immigrants do work and potentially take jobs from Americans, the reason this is possible is only the fault of those who give them jobs. For persons wishing to ignore good people leaving their country to come to the United States and label them a criminal for being here without going through the proper channels, they need to put this label on every person who makes employment possible for illegal immigrants.

This should be the target of Immigration Reform. Want a law that means something and does not resort to racial profiling, jail the employers and give them stiff penalties and long sentences.

Considering the worry over economic fears behind Arizona's law, it makes sense for MLB players and fans to oppose it through a boycott.

It (any boycott of Arizona) is going to harm the 200,000 people who work in the hospitality industry in the state. Arizona has already been hit very hard over the last two years." - Debbie Johnson, president and CEO of Arizona Hotel & Lodging Association

More boycotts are brewing, particularly inside California where individual cities have already figured out ways to stop doing business with Arizona.

Arizona needs to realize their new law is ill conceived, even if the problem of illegal immigration is real. However at this point, the law remains stubbornly in place and makes me think back to when Arizona was the only state unwilling to recognize Martin Luther King Jr with a holiday. That is until Public Enemy produced the song, "By the time I get to Arizona." Hey Chuck D, Flava Flav, can we get an encore?

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