Az. Rookie Leagues, Issue IDs, Prep Players on SB 1070
June 19, 2010
(ChattahBox)—A wave of young men from the Dominican Republic, ripe for racial profiling, have landed in the desert city of Phoenix, Arizona, a state known for its controversial “show me your papers” law. The men, many of whom don’t speak English, are in town to play in the Arizona Rookie League, a minor-minor league in which some of baseball’s best prospects are recruited for the majors. To keep the Latino players out of the reach of the notorious illegal immigrant hunter, sheriff Joe Arpaio, league officials are taking extra steps to prepare them for the new world of institutionalized nativist bigotry in the state of Arizona.
The state’s harsh anti-immigration law SB 1070, which takes effect on July29, makes it a crime to be in the state without residency papers. And law enforcement officers can question and detain individuals on the basis of “reasonable suspicion” that they are illegal immigrants, placing all brown-skinned residents at risk.
To protect their Hispanic players, league officials have issued each player an ID card, warning them not to leave the team hotel without it. Additionally, local police have been brought in to explain the new law to the young recruits, many of whom are in their teens and are in the United States for the first time.
Ross Atkins, the Indians’ player development director, said the team’s cultural development director, Lino Diaz, has been conducting seminars to prepare the players for the state’s divisive political climate on immigration policies.
“We brought in a local police officer to explain the situation and issued each player an ID card so they don’t have to rely on carrying around their visas and paperwork with them,” said Atkins.
Most teams are already in the habit of keeping a tight rein on their young, inexperienced players, in any event, to keep a lid on the usual problem areas of alcohol and disputes over girls.
Still, the looming specter of SB 1070, offers new challenges to team officials. Welcome to the brave new world where it’s a crime to be brown.
Photo Source: The Arizona League/Raynor Contreras, 2006 Arizona All-Star