John McCain’s campaign almost died last year because of one word: Immigration. Being from a border state, Sen. McCain understands that building a fence or becoming more bellicose does not stop illegal immigration, it just forces it even further underground. And he understands that the US economy will not continue to grow without inexpensive labor from overseas. Or at least he understood it up until he got the nomination.
However, we baseball fans are in a particularly excellent position to understand immigration and its positive effects. Without immigration (illegal or otherwise), we would not see the game the way that it is played today.
Seriously, can you imagine basbeball without Johan Santana, Miguel Cabrera, Victor Martinez and Carlos Zambrano? Well, with current immigration policy towards Venezuela, you might have to. We’re lucky that these players made it in to the US before the clampdown but who knows what future A-Rod or K-Rod is being held up because they don’t have their papers together in exactly the order required or because they can’t get an interview due to new regulations.
Now, you’d have to be daft to say that immigration is not a very real issue that demands tough solutions. But you’d have to be just as daft to say that shutting down the border and scaling back immigration even further will improve the situation or help the US in general.
This is an idea still in its infancy but if the US can use baseball to help with its diplomatic relations, sending big league baseball stars to other countries to talk about the US, why can’t it use baseball in the other direction, to help the American people understand the positive effects of immigration?