Groups To Protest SB 1070 Before Major League Baseball All-Star Game Tonight

Photo by Associated Press

As Major League Baseball’s top players gather in Phoenix for the sport’s annual All-Star Game tonight, they will be joined by protesters who aren’t nearly as happy to be there. Immigrants rights groups are expecting hundreds to convene outside Chase Field before the game to protest Senate Bill 1070, the extreme anti-immigrant law passed by Arizona’s legislature in 2010.

An assortment of progressive activists and organizations — including America’s Voice, National Council of La Raza, and the AFL-CIO — called on MLB commissioner Bud Selig to move the game when the law passed last year. MLB declined to change the venue, but Salvador Reza, of the Puente Movement, said the groups will use the national stage to let fans and players know that the law has had a devastating effect on the state:

“Even though the All-Star Game still continued — it wasn’t stopped supposedly because part of SB1070 was blocked — parts are still in effect and still causing a lot of havoc in the streets,” Reza said.

Arizona is still a hateful state, Arizona is still separating families. There are other ways of solving the situation.”

Another group, Somos America, will pass out white ribbons to fans entering the stadium as another form of protest.

Maricopa County Sheriff Joe Arpaio, one of the law’s biggest proponents, had planned his own chain gang demonstration in support of the law, but called it off earlier this week.

Though MLB players are reticent to participate in any form of protest — even those who previously said they might — the efforts opposing SB 1070 are gaining momentum again. Election officials recently certified recall petitions against state Senate President Russell Pearce (R), who drove the effort to pass the law, and a federal appeals court struck down some of the law’s most damaging provisions in April.