Revolution #235, June 12, 2011
Cheers to Carlos Santana
From readers in Atlanta
Cheers to the legendary rock guitarist Carlos Santana, who, while being honored May 15 with a "Beacon of Change" award at the Major League Baseball Civil Rights Game at Turner Field in Atlanta, spoke out against Georgia's new anti-immigration law HB87.
The following was reported in the Atlanta Journal-Constitution under the headline "Santana knocks Georgia over immigration law."
"Santana took his turn at the podium in the pre-game ceremony before the Braves-Phillies game to criticize the immigration bill just signed into law by Georgia Gov. Nathan Deal. 'I represent the human race. The people of Arizona, the people of Atlanta, Georgia, you should be ashamed of yourselves.' Shortly after the game started he met with the media in an impromptu gathering in the Turner Field press box after word of his comments began to break on the Internet and through social media. He said the law is based on racism and economic anxiety. 'This is about fear, that people are going to steal my job,' Santana said of the law. 'No we ain't. You don't clean toilets and clean sheets; stop shucking and jiving.' Santana said he is a 1960's-era artist unafraid to speak out. 'It's an anti-American law. It's a cruel law, actually,' Santana said. 'If you all remember what it was like here with Martin Luther King and the dogs and the hoses, it's the same thing, only it's high tech. So let's change it.'"
Georgia HB 87 is an Arizona copy-cat bill known as the "show me your papers" law. Signed by the governor on May 13, it is scheduled to go into effect on July 1. It establishes new law enforcement powers to allow police to check immigration status if they "suspect" a person is undocumented. It requires potential employers to verify the immigration status of new hires, it makes it a serious crime to use false information to find work, and makes it a criminal offense to harbor or transport an undocumented person.
The bill was passed and signed into law under the pretext of "protecting Georgia's economy" against the supposed drain on resources for services provided to undocumented immigrants. However, the real impact of immigrants on the Georgia economy is now blaring through headlines about an acute shortage of farm laborers during harvest time, because migrant farmworkers are avoiding Georgia for fear of a crackdown. Growers in south Georgia are in an uproar, saying they could lose $300 million due to crops rotting in the fields.
A lawsuit was filed by a number of civil rights groups on June 2 to block implementation of the bill. Immigrant rights activists have called for a boycott of Georgia and are planning resistance mobilizations leading up to and on July 1.
Cheers to Carlos Santana for taking the opportunity of his civil rights award to speak out against this vicious law.
For more on the battle around Georgia HB87, see Revolution #231, "Georgia: Thousands Protest Ugly Anti-Immigrant Law."
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