Serrano Meets Resistance to Moving All-Star Game

Posted April 29, 2010 at 1:35pm

Rep. José Serrano’s (D-N.Y.) call to move next year’s Major League Baseball All-Star Game to protest Arizona’s new immigration law was met Thursday with criticism from the Arizona Republican who has been the leading House GOP advocate for comprehensive immigration reform.

“I hope it doesn’t happen,” Rep. Jeff Flake (R-Ariz.) said.

Serrano, an ardent Yankees fan whose district is home to the Bronx Bombers’ stadium, is drafting a letter to MLB Commissioner Bud Selig asking the league to move the 2011 All-Star Game, slated to take place at the Arizona Diamondbacks’ Chase Field in Phoenix.

In light of the Arizona law enacted last week — which cracks down on illegal immigration and has ignited a firestorm of criticism from advocates of comprehensive immigration reform — Serrano said in a statement that he would urge Selig “in the strongest possible terms” to move the game.

“With nearly 1/3 of all Major Leaguers coming from foreign countries, there is no way that a state with this discriminatory law should be the host,” Serrano said. “MLB has a very loud megaphone and their rejection of Arizona’s action would be an important demonstration to the state that we do not tolerate such displays of intolerance in our nation.”

Serrano noted that in 1993 the NFL rescinded an offer to hold the Super Bowl in Arizona after the state refused to recognize Martin Luther King Jr. Day as a holiday.

The Bronx lawmaker’s move comes on the heels of a targeted effort to urge national organizations to cancel or refuse to schedule conferences in Arizona to protest the law.

Rep. Raúl Grijalva (D-Ariz.), who is spearheading the economic sanction effort, said Thursday that he was open to supporting Seranno’s move, adding that although he was not aware of Serrano’s plan, he was not surprised other lawmakers were pressing for sanctions against the state.

“Our call is now one of many,” Grijalva said.

But Flake, who has been critical of the law, said he was concerned about the economic implications of Serrano’s and Grijalva’s moves.

“I’m not a fan of the law,” he said, “but I hope that this doesn’t gain steam.”