Immigration activists want All-Stars' help

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by Jared Dillingham

Bio | Email | Follow: @JaredDillingham

azfamily.com

Posted on June 28, 2011 at 9:45 PM

Updated Tuesday, Jun 28 at 9:57 PM

PHOENIX - As Major League Baseball's elite prepare to arrive in Phoenix for the annual All-Star Game, immigrants-rights groups are preparing to use the game as a platform to protest Arizona's SB1070 immigration law.

In May 2010, after Governor Jan Brewer signed 1070 into law, MLB superstars like Adrian Gonzalez of the Boston Red Sox called 1070 "immoral" and hinted he may boycott the All-Star Game in Phoenix.  

Now, a year later, Gonzalez and others have changed their tunes calling immigration "a government issue, not a baseball issue."

Still, Valley-based immigrants rights groups are hoping to get the players back involved, in time for the All-Star events.

"We're in communication with Adrian [Gonzalez] and other players and hope they use the opportunity of being in Arizona as a platform," said Luis Avila of Somos America.

Avila is encouraging the players and fans to wear white ribbons the week of the All-Star Game as a sign of protest against 1070. 

While Somos America and other groups like La Raza on Tuesday compared their mission to baseball's roll in the civil rights era when Jackie Robinson first took to the field, some fans remain unconvinced.

"The All-Star Game isn't the right venue," said Diamondbacks fan Jay Desautel of Eloy, "There's a place for that, and it's not at a baseball game."

Avila thinks it's the perfect place. "We want to celebrate the players, their visit, and the game, but also want to take the opportunity while the world is watching to say: things are not right."

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