Baseball Players Union Unhappy With Arizona Immigration Law

Baseball players union unhappy with Arizona immigration law

By Jordan Fabian
The Hill
04/30/10 02:26 PM ET

The Major League Baseball Players Association on Friday said it is opposed to the controversial new immigration law in Arizona, saying it could negatively affect foreign players.

Executive Director Michael Weiner said the law could cause problems for players who are not U.S. citizens, but who play on one of 30 Major League squads in the U.S. and Canada.

Lawmakers have eyed baseball as one avenue to highlight their opposition to the law, now it appears that they have the players' union on their side.

The Major League Baseball Players Association opposes this law as written,” Weiner said in a statement. “We hope that the law is repealed or modified promptly.”

Rep. Jose Serrano (D-N.Y.), who like almost all other Democrats opposes the law, has called on Major League Baseball to move its All-Star Game from Phoenix in 2011.

Weiner, whose organization does not control the site of the All-Star Game, did not say whether or not it would put pressure on the league to act, but said, “If the current law goes into effect, the MLBPA will consider additional steps necessary to protect the rights and interests of our members.”

According to a 2009 report, 27 percent of Major League Baseball players are Latinos who hail from Mexico, Central America, South America and Puerto Rico.

The law mandating state police ask for the documentation of people they suspect are illegal immigrants faces several legal challenges from officials in Arizona.

Even though the law targets illegal immigrants, critics say that it could allow police to discriminate against Latinos because it gives them broad latitude to ask for documentation.

They also worry that law enforcement officials could make mistakes or errors in judgement when identifying illegal immigrants since they are not specifically trained to do so.

Arizona Gov. Jan Brewer (R) signed the law because she said the federal government has not enforced existing immigration laws on the southern border with Mexico, where many violent flare-ups have occurred. She has said that the law will not infringe on the civil liberties of those in the country legally.

Members of Congress have used the law to vault immigration reform near the top of the agenda in Congress. Senate Democrats rolled out an immigration proposal on Thursday.