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Anti-immigration law opponents to protest at baseball headquarters

By the CNN Wire Staff
  • Group is to protest law in New York
  • Arizona law is scheduled to go in effect at the end of July
  • Group wants pro baseball to move All-Star Game out of Arizona

New York (CNN) -- Civil and immigrant rights groups plan to protest Arizona's immigration law Thursday at professional baseball' s headquarters in New York in the hopes of getting next year's All-Star Game moved out of Arizona.

"Major League Baseball is uniquely positioned to show that Americans hold their laws to higher standards," the New York Immigration Coalition said in a media release.

"The MLB should refuse to hold the All-Star Game in Arizona until all baseball players and their fans can live and visit Arizona with the confidence that their civil rights will be upheld and the police will not single them out because of the color of their skin," the group said.

The Arizona law, which is scheduled to take effect at the end of July, requires immigrants to carry their alien registration documents at all times and allows police to question the residency status of people in the course of enforcing another law. It also targets businesses that hire illegal immigrant laborers or knowingly transports them.

Critics have said the law will promote racial profiling making a hostile living environment for legal Hispanics. Supporters said the law will help the state deal with an illegal immigration problem that the federal government has failed to address.

Arizona has more critics than the coalition that plans to protest in New York on Thursday.

The U.S. justice department filed a lawsuit Tuesday challenging the law.

President Barack Obama said in a speech July 1 that the measure has "fanned the flames of an already contentious debate."

Among other things, it puts pressure on police officers to enforce rules that are "unenforceable" while making communities less safe - in part, by making people more reluctant to report crimes, he said.

It also has "the potential of violating the rights of innocent American citizens and legal residents, making them subject to possible stops or questioning because of what they look like or how they sound."

Arizona's Republican governor, Jan Brewer, has accused the Obama administration of failing to secure the border with Mexico, thereby forcing her state to act on its own.

"Do your job. Secure the border," Brewer said of the president in a July 1 speech to a Republican group. She pledged to "defend this law against every assault, including attacks by the Obama administration."