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Yankees pitcher gets his visa, will start spring training in US

It isn't just everyday people who have to be vigilant of U.S. immigration laws. Even immigrants who are celebrities -- or people who are likely to become celebrities quickly once the American public gets to know them -- have to make sure their immigration paperwork is in order. Not everyone has an employer that can call on a member of Congress to expedite the process, though.

One such person is Masahiro Tanaka, one of the best pitchers in Japanese baseball over the last several years. This fall, he announced he would take a chance on American baseball. This opened a fierce bidding war, as any team could offer him a contract. Ultimately, Tanaka chose the New York Yankees, one of baseball's storied teams, and their offer of a seven-year contract for $155 million.

Tanaka, a Japanese citizen, needed to get a work visa in order to come to this country -- specifically, what's known as a P visa, which is issued to entertainers and athletes. A player's team must demonstrate that the player in question is internationally recognized, which applies to Tanaka.

However, the paperwork often takes up to a month to process. This is a fraction of the time most people have to wait, but even that wasn't fast enough in this case, because spring training begins this week. So the Yankees contacted Sen. Charles Schumer of New York, who used his influence to get the paperwork completed without further delay.

Obviously, very few people will qualify for this kind of treatment. It's important for immigrants to have the proper legal representation in the U.S. in order to help them navigate around the legal roadblocks they may face.

Source: CBS Sports, "Sen. Schumer speeds up visa process for Masahiro Tanaka, Yankees," Dayn Perry, Jan. 31, 2014

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