Baseball and Immigration

Despite a recent court decision suspending the more onerous provisions of the now-infamous Arizona immigration bill – commonly known by its bill number, S.B. 1070 – immigrant-rights activists still want to punish Arizona for enacting the measure in the first place, with some continuing to call for a boycott of the 2011 Major League Baseball All-Star Game, still scheduled to take place in Phoenix next July.

Immigration protests have been following the Arizona Diamondbacks as they play around the country, drawing fire for the home-state politicos who enacted the controversial legislation earlier last spring. These protests recently made their way to the nation’s capital, when the Diamondbacks played the Washington Nationals earlier this month. According to The Hill newspaper, a few dozen activists picketed outside the game, and four were arrested for running on the field during the game, while still others displayed a banner reading “Bud Selig Move All Star Game No SB 1070.” (See Immigration Protests Hit Nats Stadium, by Jordan Fabian, The Hill, Blog Briefing Room, 16.Aug.2010.)

As The Hill reports, Commissioner Selig has not commented on the issue, and it is reasonable to expect him to remain silent, waiting for the whole thing to blow over. The fact that the protests continue, however – even after the initial court ruling suspending operation of its worst provisions – shows that S.B. 1070 has struck a nerve in the body politic, becoming a focus of a passionate national debate with little sign of abating soon. Perhaps this will be long forgotten when next year’s All-Star Break rolls around, but one could not blame Commissioner Selig if he made contingency plans to hold the game in another, less controversial state. Stay tuned.

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