Tuesday, February 15, 2011

Adios, Amigo

That Gov. Haley Barbour (R-MS) was once a lobbyist is no secret. He brags about it and says it even helps him in his quest for the GOP nomination in 2012. Maybe, but back in 2001, one of the groups he lobbied for was the Mexican government who was trying to get the U.S. to grant amnesty to undocumented immigrants.

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.

I suspect that won’t go over too well with some of the base of the GOP who think the Arizona “papers please” immigration bill as being too soft. So maybe this might put a bit of a wrinkle in Mr. Barbour’s plans for 2012.