Carlos Santana uses Phillies-Braves ceremony to criticize immigration law


(John Bazemore / AP)

Carlos Santana was given the Beaconof Change award before the Atlanta Braves' fifth annual Civil Rights Game on Sunday against the Philadelphia Phillies and he used the opportunity to criticize Arizona and Georgia for their new immigration laws.

Saying he represented immigrants, the Grammy winner said at Turner field, “The people of Arizona, and the people of Atlanta, Georgia, you should be ashamed of yourselves.”

On Friday, Georgia Gov. Nathan Deal signed a bill that requires many employers to check the immigration status of new hires and authorizes law enforcement officers to check the status of some suspects. The law, one of the toughest in the nation, is similar in some respects to one enacted last year in Arizona.

“This law is not correct. It's a cruel law, actually,” Santana, who emigrated to San Francisco in the 1960s, said after the ceremony. “This is about fear. Stop shucking and jiving. People are afraid we're going to steal your job. No, we aren't. You're not going to change sheets and clean toilets. ...

“This is the United States. This is the land of the free. If people want the immigration laws to keep passing, then everybody should get out and leave the American Indians here.”

Chicago Cubs Hall of Famer was presented with the Beacon of Life award to Cubs Hall of Famer Ernie Banks and actor Morgan Freeman was given the Beacon of Hope award. “Today” co-host Al Roker was the moderator and the ceremony featured a tribute to Hank Aaron. Commissioner Bud Selig attended the ceremony.

After spending most of her career in traditional print sports journalism, Cindy began blogging and tweeting, first as NFL/Redskins editor, and, since August 2010, at The Early Lead. She also is the social media editor for Sports.

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