WASHINGTON - Today, U.S. Senator Robert Menendez (D-NJ), the lone Latino currently serving in the Senate, urged a Major League Baseball players' boycott of the 2011 All Star Game over Arizona's new immigration law. In a letter to Major League Baseball Players Association Executive Director Michael Weiner, Menendez pointed out that more than one in four major leaguers is of Latino descent, and similarly, more than one in four is foreign born.
The new Arizona law, SB1070, would require law enforcement to ask anyone they suspect of being in the country illegally about their immigration status - including demanding documented proof of citizenship or legal residency. In his letter, Menendez praised the union for its vocal opposition to the law.
PDF of letter to MLB Players Association Executive Director Weiner: http://menendez.senate.gov/imo/media/doc/20100510ltr_BaseballAZ.pdf
Text of letter:
May 10, 2010
Mr. Michael Weiner
Major League Baseball Players Association
12 East 49th Street
New York, NY 10017
Dear Mr. Weiner:
I first want to thank you for taking a public stand and expressing your opposition to Arizona law SB1070. I would also respectfully ask that you and your players consider boycotting the 2011 All Star Game until SB1070 is repealed or the game is moved to an another location. The Arizona law is offensive to Hispanics and all Americans because it codifies racial profiling into law by requiring police to question anyone who appears to be in the country illegally.
As you and I both know, Major League Baseball (MLB) is truly a multicultural, international sport. In fact, Latinos represent 27 percent of all MLB players and 28 percent of MLB players are foreign born. These players come to the United States legally and should not be subjected to the humiliation and harassment that SB1070 would inflict. Imagine if your players and their families were subjected to interrogation by law enforcement, simply because they look a certain way. Imagine if MLB fans - many of whom are Hispanic - were subjected to that same type of interrogation if they were to attend the All Star Game. That would truly be an embarrassment and an injustice, not only to MLB, but to the values and ideals we hold as Americans.
In every century and generation, immigrants have contributed to the progress, prosperity and vitality of this nation. This law undermines that shared history by promoting discrimination against one group of people. As someone who has and continues to fight for comprehensive immigration reform, I believe the Arizona law is a call to action for reform of our nation's broken immigration system. However, while I understand the frustration about the failures of our current system, states should not be permitted to enact their own discriminatory immigration laws while the federal government works to reform our laws. The Arizona law is an embarrassment to our country and a call to action to our communities to stand up against injustice.
For these reasons, I ask that you consider boycotting the All Star Game in Arizona until SB1070 is repealed or the League decides to move the game to an alternate location. Thank you for your attention to this important issue. It is my hope that we can work together now and in the future.
United State Senator