Take action now:

Haley Barbour lobbied for Mexican government, now misleads about amnesty

Mississippi governor Haley Barbour is so bad on immigration that in 2001 he lobbied for the Mexican government on a "mini-amnesty". If you aren't familiar with that government's activities inside the U.S., see that link.

Now that his lobbying activities [1] have come to light, he's responded by misleading about amnesty and promoting very bad policies. From a statement he released in response [2]:

"Before there can be immigration reform, we must secure our borders. Only after that can any reforms be achieved, and those can’t include amnesty... Everybody knows we are not going to put ten or twelve million people in jail and deport them. Once the border is secure, we should develop a responsible guest-worker program and it can’t include amnesty."

1. As it says on the secure the border page, when someone harps on securing the border *first*, you have to ask them what comes next. Thankfully, in his case he's making it clear: some form of legalization program. See #4.

2. He's using the reform not amnesty canard. His "reform" would be perceived by millions of potential illegal aliens as amnesty, no matter what he wants to call it. See that link for the details.

3. He's using the deportations false choice canard, pretending that we must choose between mass deportations and legalization when there are other options, including attrition.

4. The guest worker program he promotes would result in one of two things: either a very large underclass of "second-class non-citizens" akin to the situation of Turkish "guests" in Germany, or some form of "path to citizenship" in which former illegal aliens would eventually be able to become citizens. The last is more likely, and it's certainly the one that the Democratic Party would pull out all the stops to obtain starting from Day One. So, most likely his plan would turn out to have the same effect as amnesty, even if applicants had to jump through a few minor hoops first. See the comprehensive immigration reform and guest workers pages for more.

But, wait, there's more. Barbour's press office has responded to [1] with this:

In their work on immigration issues, BGR [Barbour's lobbying firm] never advocated amnesty for illegal aliens.

Barbour's lobbying concerned Section 245(i) of the Immigration Act (link) which involved allowing certain illegal aliens to adjust their status, i.e., become legalized and get a green card. See the description in [1]. Getting a green card put them on the "path to citizenship". So, word games aside, what he was lobbying for was in fact amnesty.

ADDED: We know Barbour promoted amnesty, but it's important to use his terms if you ever get a chance to discuss this with him. If you ask him about supporting amnesty, he'll do what John McCain and others do: simply deny he supports amnesty. So, that will go nowhere. If you get to ask Barbour a question, it has to be about specific aspects of what he supports and you need to make sure you aren't letting him deflect the question by playing word games.

----------
[1] From this:

According to a Justice Department filing by Barbour's former lobbying firm, The Embassy of Mexico decided to retain Barbour's services on August 15, 2001, to work on, among other things, legislation that would provide a path to citizenship for foreigners living illegally in the United States—what opponents of immigration reform call “amnesty.”

“Haley Barbour and I will lead the BG&R team,” wrote Lanny Griffith, Barbour's former business partner, in the filing. According to subsequent filings, Barbour's work included “building support in the legislative branch for passage of a bill related to Section 245(i) of the Immigration and Nationality Act.” As part of that work, Barbour's firm arranged meetings and briefings with “Senators, members of Congress and their staffs, as well as Executive Branch Officials in the White House, National Security Council, State Department, and Immigration & Naturalization Service.” Barbour's firm charged Mexico $35,000 a month, plus expenses.

At the time, Mexico was seeking an extension of a provision that allowed undocumented immigrants living in the United States to receive legal visas or green cards without returning to their country of origin, provided they pay an additional fine. In practice, the provision generally helped out undocumented family members of legal immigrants or undocumented immigrants who were eligible for visas based upon certain job skills. Without the provision in place, undocumented immigrants who received legal papers had to return to their country of origin, for three or 10 years, before returning to the U.S. The Congressional Research Service estimated that an extension would benefit about 300,000 undocumented immigrants.

At the time of Barbour's lobbying, the 245(i) effort was referred to as “mini-amnesty” in conservative circles.“This amnesty loophole allowed aliens who broke our laws to pay a $1,000 fine and go to the head of the line in front of prospective immigrants who complied with our laws,” opined Phyllis Schlafly, founder of the Eagle Forum, in a 2002 column.
Among the other supporters of extending 245(i) was President George W. Bush, who had called for an extension of the provision before meeting with then-Mexican President Vincent Fox in 2002. The Republican-controlled House of Representatives voted out the extension, but in the post-September 11 atmosphere, the extension failed to win approval in the Senate.

[2] hotair.com/archives/2011/02/14/
barbour-lobbied-for-mini-amnesty

Tue, 02/15/2011 - 15:04 · Importance: 4