Thursday, May 13, 2010

Is Miguel Batista Not a Man?

Miguel Batista, the Nationals' union rep, became the first Nationals player to comment on the Arizona anti-immigration law. And he's not messing around. You want him to play in front of people who don't want him in their state? Not likely. He says the players just might strike if Bud Selig doesn't make other arrangements.

The race-baiting politicians of Arizona are finding out that when you pick a fight with an entire race of people, you make few enemies with enough power to make you pay. It's the same lesson the businessmen of Atlanta learned 40 years ago when they decided to repackage themselves as "the city too busy to hate," because the Jim Crow South was just damn bad for business.

We'll see how long Arizona lasts with a "Hispanics not welcome" sign hanging on the state border. One thing is pretty clear: if the Arizona state legislature doesn't find a way to walk this back, the All-Star Game isn't going to be in Phoenix next year.
Miguel Batista's view on immigration law and baseball

Among Nationals players, reliever Miguel Batista is the most intimately connected to the players' union's denouncement of the recently passed immigration law in Arizona. Batista is an MLBPA board member who owns property in Arizona, where he once played for the Diamondbacks.

Batista, a 16-year veteran who is a native of the Dominican Republic, said today he could envision a scenario in which at least a partial boycott of the 2011 All-Star Game, scheduled to be held in Phoenix, plays out. He also said, "We know that, as a union, striking is the last resort. We always try to negotiate."

But Batista, a bright man who has written novels about crime and punishment, can see how not moving the 2011 All-Star Game from Arizona could provide complications.

"I'll give you an example," Batista said. "Let's say next year, the All-Star Game is in Arizona. ... You've got a guy like, let's say, Vladimir Guerrero. He can barely speak any English. They say, 'You've been invited to go to the All-Star Game.' He sends a letter to Bud Selig and says, 'I don't want to go to the All-Star Game. I don't want to take a chance to be arrested for walking down the street.' What can Bud Selig say? You can't tell a guy not to be afraid. If people want to see him in the All-Star Game, what's going to happen?"

Batista believes the union has a right to intercede in a political issue because the law could affect large numbers or foreign players.

"The law that has been proposed affects our members," Batista said. "It doesn't matter if it's political or not political. We're going to protect our members. We do it against the owners. We've done it against Congress in the past on labor rights. It's the same thing."


Eric said...

Nice of Batista to use Vlad as an example, Lord knows the only way Batista is getting into the All-Star game is with a ticket.

Also, mark my words - the All star game WILL be played in ARI in '11 and this. Hullaballo will be less than a footnote by then.

logan said...

I thought you were brighter than that Steven.

The people of Arizona, and by all current polls the people in the rest of this country, have no problem with ballplayers and others who are here LEGALLY. This law does nothing to them.

Vlad and others are not going to get arrested for walking down the street. Anyone with a brain who has read the law knows that.

For you and others to continue to intentionally misrepresent the facts in order to scare people and push a political agenda is despicable.

Eric said...

If the law does what the critics claim it will either be overturned or repealed. If it does not it will be forgotten long before this year's all-star game, let alone '11 (or even the deadline to move the game, whenever that is).

Section 222 said...

Ok, here's a question for logan and all the other geniuses who claim to have read the law and believe it has nothing against someone who is here "LEGALLY"? How does a police officer in Arizona know that Batista and Guerrero and Pudge Rodriguez are here legally until he stops them and asks to see their papers? (Remember, the law *requires* law enforcement to stop anyone who they have a "reasonable suspicion" is not legal.) And what does he do when Batista and Guerrero (who speaks almost no English) don't have proof of citizenship on them at the time? That's what this is about. Comprende?

Eric, I hope you're right because if you are it means Arizona will have repealed the law. Because otherwise, there is no way that the players agree to play in the game in Arizona. And I don't just mean the Latin players.

Eric said...

I'm not 100% on this law, but I think it's like a seat belt law - you can't stop someone for suspicion of being illegal, but only after you stop them for another "violation" can you inquire about status if you have reasonable suspicion.

My bet is this is much ado about nothing since it won't allow what critics fear and won't accomplish what advocates desire and it will be forgotten by fall.

logan said...

222, you haven't read the law apparently. Neither has Eric Holder.

An AZ policeman, under this law, can't stop someone JUST for 'looking illegal.' There has to be some other violation which triggers the 'stop.' So all these demagogues who say otherwise are just that. And it's not proof of citizenship, it's proof of legal residency. A driver license suffices. Do you go driving without your driver's license?

It has been federal law that legal aliens carry proof of legal residency SINCE FDR.

Will said...

Throughout my short lifetime, I have learned that if a cop wants to arrest you, he/she will find a way to charge you with something. Regularly in college, the police, acting on suspicion that underage drinking was taking place, would enter my house and friends' houses and force everyone to leave. If they were right and found people underage drinking, they would charge the home owners with providing alcohol to minors. If everyone was over 21, they would charge the home owners with "keeping a disorderly house", a catch-all law that the cops could use in just about any circumstance. Being the poor college students we were, we had little recourse to challenge the charges in court.

This is my fear of the Arizona law. It gives police far too much power in determining what "reasonable suspicion" is. Every Hispanic in Arizona better make sure all those broken taillights are fixed, make sure they never drive above the speed limit and never look suspicious or too much like an illegal immigrant. All it takes is one idiot, racist cop for this law to be abused. And if this law is abused, it has horrible implications, much worse than 40 hours of community service for "keeping a disorderly house" with you and your 10 friends. Fortunately, the ACLU and hundreds of others will be eager to assist any person wronged by this law.

TBC said...

I'm not 100% on this law, but I think it's like a seat belt law - you can't stop someone for suspicion of being illegal, but only after you stop them for another "violation" can you inquire about status if you have reasonable suspicion.

In many areas of the country (including PG County in the DC area) otherwise innocent people get stopped all the time for committing the offense called Driving While Black, even though there's no statute on the books for it. Although it sounds perfectly reasonable on its face, what this Arizona law is is nothing more than legal underpinning for the offense called Not From Around These Parts, Are Ya, Pardner? Basically this law legalizes harrassment of many for the dubious gain of ferreting out a few illegals here and there. Batista knows full well that this is the true effect of the law, no matter how much the lily-white AZ lawmakers may deny it. So does anyone else who is unfortunate enough to not look "American" but who might want to go to Arizona sometime, for whatever reason, and feel more welcome than someone sporting Nats colors in Philadelphia would.

Will said...

How long has Vlad worked in the US? He hasn't at least tried to pick up the language all these years?

TBC said...

Will, did you happen to hear Debbi Taylor interview Cristian Guzman the other night? Doesn't seem like he's spent much time learning the language in all the years he's worked in the US. Must have been interesting for him living in MN, which I don't think has a huge Spanish-speaking population.

Janet said...

Miguel Batista's book is a crime novel set in Arizona(!)

@logan -- Do I go driving without my driver's license? No. But do I carry it when I'm traveling abroad with my passport? Also no, unless I'm planning to rent a car.

Presumably All Star game participants would have P-1 visas (if they weren't US citizens or permanent residents). But what would they need to have on their person to satisfy an Arizona policeman who stopped them for, say, jaywalking?

flippin said...

I wonder if any of the Asian born players are nervous? Or, what about guys like Joey Votto, he's Canadian for god's sake (read: socialist)...

Anonymous said...

There's the guys from India "out-sourced" by their companies as "consultants" to do work for a lot less. They aren't citizens but they use HB1B loop-holes to stay far longer than they should. And many times they think they deserve American jobs. Why? The actually believe they are smarter ... and they definitely are not.

I'm sure there a whole passel living in AZ right now?

Do you believe that kids currently spending (or their parents) tens of thousands of dollars on a college education should be denied work for these people who are undereducated and overly egotistical?

Anonymous said...

Is Miguel Batista not a pitcher?

Given his performance or lack there of late shouldn't he be concentrating on his job and lowering his ERA and WHIP instead of voicing opinions. I am sure we would all be more inclined to listen to anything Pudge Rodriguez has to say on this topic. But Batista? He is lucky he has his current position! He should not have been brought with the team out of ST. There are so many in Syracuse who were MUCH MORE DESERVING! He belongs there with Bergmann talking about this to the Post-Standard. Not to the Post or to you.

Section 222 said...

Logan -- actually I have read the law (S.B. 1070), but apparently you haven't. Here's a link if you'd like to take a look:

Perhaps you just haven't understood it. The key provision is at the very beginning of the law in Section 2 (new section 11-1051(B)), so you don't have to read too far. It says that for any lawful contact made by a law enforcement official or agency of Arizona where reasonable suspicion exists that the person is not lawfully present in the U.S., the law enforcement official or agency *shall* determine the "immigration status" (not legal residency) of the person.

A lawful contact is not just when there is suspicion of a crime, traffic violation, or even jaywalking, although those certainly qualify. When you walk into a local police station to ask for a residential parking permit, that's a lawful contact. When the police get a call about a disturbance at a bar and come to the bar to check it out, they have lawful contact with everyone they encounter there. When you stop and ask a cop directions because you are from out of town, that's a lawful contact. So if Batista asks a cop directions, the cop *must* ask him to demonstrate his immigration status. Are you really ok with that?

Nowhere in the law does it say that showing a drivers' license is sufficient to prove your immigration status. I've never seen a driver's license that indicates one way or another whether someone is a citizen or legal permanent resident. (And yes, I usually carry mine, but I'm sure glad a cop can't ask me to produce it anytime I have a conversation with one, aren't you?)

I don't know if you are right that lawful immigrants are required to carry proof of legal residency at all times (somehow I'm starting to doubt your knowledge of the law), but since a driver's license doesn't show whether you are here legally, what's your point? And what about all the Hispanic-American citizens. They don't carry proof of citizenship, and neither do you or I.

Bland Moniker said...

Police may approach and speak to whomever they want. They do not need "reasonable suspicion." An officer only needs "reasonable suspicion" that a law is/has been violated if he restrains a suspect from moving (e.g. tells him he's not free to leave). The law is only like the seat belt laws when we consider stopping cars. An officer may approach anyone walking down the street.
What is this "reasonable suspicion" which allows officers to restrain the freedom of people? In this context, even legal experts aren't sure. But the law allows officers to be sued for not enforcing the law. It creates incentives for officers to err on the side of improperly restraining people. Thus, even if Arizona's courts ultimately conclude that an officer lacks "reasonable suspicion" that a man is an illegal immigrant when the man is Hispanic, speaks Spanish, and is in an area frequented by illeal immigrants, at this time, officers have incentive to restrain that man anyway.