This isn’t what I’d imagine you’d call a comprehensive immigration solution, but never let it be said that Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid isn’t thinking about immigration issues. While the Senate was preparing to head out of town on vacation, Reid remained busy solving one person’s problems with crossing the border. Argentinian boxer Diego Chaves needed to get into the country for a fight this weekend and the whole event was on the verge of being scrapped because of his inability to get a visa. Harry Reid to the rescue!
Between managing a busy pre-recess agenda, Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, D-Nev., squeezed in some help for a boxer who needed a visa to be able to fight in the United States this weekend.
Reid, a former boxer and avid fan of the sport, saved the day for Argentinian Diego Chaves, set to face off against Brandon Rios as the chief supporting bout of a split-site HBO card with Rios-Chaves headlining the part of the show at the Cosmopolitan in Las Vegas.
Earlier this week, promoter Top Rank canceled a conference call with the boxing reporters to hype the bout, and news broke about Chaves’ visa troubles. Top Rank’s Bob Arum told Yahoo! on Wednesday, “When we became aware of this, we immediately called Sen. Reid’s office,” he said. “Christina Martinez from his office is assigned to these type of problems and she really worked hard. She got the State Department to cut through everything and got the visa issued.”
Details on Chaves’ personal situation are tough to come by, and Bleacher Report simply referred to it by saying the fighter was experiencing issues. My own contacts in the sport are limited, but one insider I asked about it simply referred to Chaves as “controversial.”
Still, he manged to get head of the line privileges for a travel visa thanks to Reid. Was this just because Reid is a long time fan of the sport? Or possibly because the fight is taking place in his home state and it means some additional cash for Las Vegas? Or could it be something else? Reid is well known for hand to hand politicking, and he likes to do favors. Also, he gets a lot of support from those who make their living promoting such events. It was widely reported back in the day that Reid was poking his nose into pending federal regulations of boxing and accepted free tickets to several fights while said legislation was under consideration. He obviously has a history with the folks inside the sport.
No matter the reason, it’s clearly good to have friends in high places and the fight is on for tonight.