Guitarist Carlos Santana criticised a tough new immigration law in Georgia as he was honoured in Atlanta on Sunday (15May11), branding the policy "anti-American".
The Mexican-born rocker spoke out against the controversial legislation after receiving the Beacon of Change Award ahead of the Civil Rights Game baseball event in the city.
Georgia Governor Nathan Deal signed a bill on Friday (13May11) which gives police officers the authority to check the immigration status of anyone suspected of being in the state illegally. A similar law was passed in Arizona last year (10).
Santana told the crowd, "I represent the human race... The people of Arizona, and the people of Atlanta, Georgia, you should be ashamed of yourselves."
Speaking at a news conference after the ceremony, he added, "It's an anti-American law... It's a cruel law, actually. 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."
Elsewhere at the ceremony, The Shawshank Redemption star Morgan Freeman accepted the Beacon of Hope Award.