Haley Barbour: Lobbyist for Mexico

Is this the man you want to benefit by re-electing Thad Cochran to the US Senate? A lobbyist for a foreign government, an amnesty supporter, a race-baiter, and a liar! – MCD

Records contradict Mississippi Gov. Haley Barbour on lobbying work for Mexico

Melanie Mason and Maeve Reston, Los Angeles Times, March 23, 2011

Mississippi Gov. Haley Barbour’s assertion that he did not personally work for the government of Mexico when his lobbying firm represented the country a decade ago is contradicted by the firm’s own federal filings, which describe him as a leader of the team assigned to the account.barbour

During an appearance Saturday at the California Republican Convention in Sacramento, Barbour denied a reporter’s statement that he once “lobbied for the government of Mexico on the issue of amnesty and a path to citizenship.”

“Your facts are incorrect,” Barbour said, adding, “I didn’t do the work in the firm; one of my partners did.” The Republican governor said one of the issues his firm worked on was a law that would have allowed legal immigrants to renew their visas without leaving the country, though he added, “Don’t hold me to all the details.”

In fact, the firm lobbied in support of bill that would have allowed illegal immigrants to obtain legal residency by paying a fine, instead of having to return to their home countries before applying for legal entry.

According to paperwork filed by Barbour Griffith & Rogers with the Justice Department, the firm represented the Mexican Embassy for 16 months, with Barbour listed as one of the key members on the account.

In an Aug. 15, 2001, letter to Mexican Ambassador Juan Jose Bremer confirming the agreement, Lanny Griffith, then the chief operating officer of BG&R, outlined a plan in which the lobbying firm would assist the embassy on several matters, including “immigration/human capital” and “treatment of Mexican citizens who cross the border.”

Griffith told Bremer in the letter that the firm had “designated a team of professionals who will concentrate on your work.”

“Haley Barbour and I will lead the BG&R team,” he added. Griffith did not respond to requests for comment.

The embassy paid BG&R $35,000 a month plus expenses. In all, BG&R received $402,500 to represent the Mexican government between August 2001 and December 2002, according to the filings. Barbour was chairman of the lobbying firm until he became governor in January 2004.

In May 2002, according to Justice Department filings, the firm lobbied in support of “a bill related to Section 245(i) of the Immigration and Nationality Act.” That provision, first created in 1994, streamlined a path to legal residency by allowing unauthorized immigrants to legalize their status in the United States, as long as they were eligible for an immigrant visa and paid an additional fine. Previously, those seeking permanent residency were required to return to their home country to get their visas.

The measure, up for renewal in 2002, was backed by the Mexican government. Then-President George W. Bush supported it as well, but the provision’s detractors characterized it as a form of amnesty and said it rewarded those who broke immigration laws.

The provision was not renewed. Since then, most Republican leaders have opposed a path to citizenship. Asked his view on allowing illegal immigrants to win legal status, Barbour demurred.

“Well, look, the first thing we have to do is we have to close the border,” he said Saturday. “Once we have a closed and secure, controlled border, then you can start talking about what should we do and what shouldn’t we do.”



  1. William Smith says:

    I have a question: So what? Lobbying firms are paid to represent clients in a fashion similar to what lawyers do. The client pays for the services, and the professional represents the client’s interests. A second quetstion which I have not seen answered. These illegal immigratnts are here. What do you think should be done with them? It’s easy to say “no amnesty” but what then? Do you really think all of them can be rounded up and put on planes and busses to be returned to whence they came? The first thing to to stop th flow at the borders so illegals do not continue to come. But, then there are those who are here. What do with them?

    • Hey William:
      A legal immigrant (and small business owner) made a suggestion to me just the other day. He suggests that since the U.S. will never be able to return eleven million people back to their countries of origin, that, we pass a law to get the illegals to come forward and register for a Social Security number and work visa. After the first five years they become eligible to begin the
      naturalization process to seek U.S. citizenship after they have been registered for ten full years. During those ten years they will be paying taxes just like everyone else. Also, in order to protect the public weal, the law can provide that they will not be entitled to any government benefits during this period. The idea is to encourage the illegals to come forward and register,
      work on the record and pay taxes like everyone else, but at the same time, not allow them to become “takers” of public social services. This way, they could also own property and send their kids to public schools without fear of deportation. This would all be conditioned upon them not being convicted of
      a felony crime. If they are convicted, they would be sent back to their country of origin. No one would be eligible for citizenship with a pending felony charge. Such a program would make these folks “producers” in society, and eligible to be part of the American dream. What do you and the others think?

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