Barbour denies pushing 'amnesty' as a lobbyist
February 14th, 2011
07:54 PM ET
12 years ago

Barbour denies pushing 'amnesty' as a lobbyist

Washington (CNN) - Already coming under fire for his lobbyist past as he ramps up for a 2012 presidential bid, Mississippi Gov. Haley Barbour is denying that he once urged Congress and the Bush administration to pass legislation providing a path to citizenship for undocumented immigrants.

Or, as a good many Republican primary voters like to call it, "amnesty."

TIME magazine reported Monday that Barbour, a co-founder of the powerhouse lobbying firm Barbour, Griffith & Rogers - now known as the BGR Group - was retained by the Mexican government in 2001 to lobby for an extension of an immigration provision that would allow undocumented workers to obtain visas and green cards. The extension ultimately died in the Senate.

Barbour was elected governor in 2003 and quit the lobbying firm, though he still receives pension payments through a blind trust.

One of Barbour's longtime political advisers, his nephew Henry Barbour, circulated a statement from the governor late Monday responding to the TIME report and rejected the claim that he supports "amnesty."

"One reason I've been successful as governor is that I'm plain-spoken and use common sense," Gov. Barbour said in the statement. "I tell people what I think, not what I think they want to hear. 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."

Barbour's advisers also released a "fact sheet" outlining what Vincente Fox, then the newly-elected president of Mexico, paid Barbour's firm $35,000-a-month to accomplish.

According to the document, Barbour and his firm worked with members of Congress on three main issues: to establish a "U.S.-Mexico Friendship Caucus," to settle water claims and "other border issues," and to improve the relationship between the two countries "on issues such as immigration" through the "Partnership for Prosperity" initiative.

BGR, though, "never advocated amnesty for illegal aliens," the fact sheet said, nor did it support any free trade agreements with Mexico.

Barbour, who has never been an anti-immigration hard-liner, used his statement Monday to call for a "responsible" guest-worker program.

"Everybody knows we are not going to put ten or twelve million people in jail and deport them," Barbour said. "Once the border is secure, we should develop a responsible guest-worker program and it can't include amnesty."

Filed under: 2012 • Haley Barbour
soundoff (12 Responses)
  1. Former Republican, now an Independent

    Haley Barbour is trying to cover up another bad part of his past. He, and all of the other republicans know illegal immigration was a hidden strategy of the republican party and the Bush administration to drive down middle class wages. That is why the GOP was never real vocal about this problem until Obama got elected. Then all of a sudden it is a problem. The "Neo-Cons who now control the GOP, believe the middle class has too much disposable income and thus could possibly wrestle the political power of the country away fron the the wealthy. That is one of the reason the republicans created and funded their own so called news network, Fox. Since the GOP believed Fox still wasn't enough control of the media, they had their media mogul buy the Wall Street Journal and bend it's delivery of news to fit their liking.

    February 14, 2011 08:34 pm at 8:34 pm |
  2. gypsydaveywithablowtorch

    Yeah, don't let the Republican base know that you might actually be human.

    February 14, 2011 08:38 pm at 8:38 pm |
  3. Marie MD

    Oh please! You were a lobbyist! You would sell your mother if you had one, sorry, if you could.
    Is it legal to continue to make money, even from a blind trust, if you are a governor? What is going on in the South? What are they breeding down there?

    February 14, 2011 08:56 pm at 8:56 pm |
  4. Chaos

    Well, Well, Well. Mr. hates hispanics sems to prefer their cheap labor for his cronies over Americans getting jobs.

    February 14, 2011 09:05 pm at 9:05 pm |
  5. Ramon F Herrera

    "Only after that can any reforms be achieved, and those can't include amnesty."

    Dear Governor: Comprehensive Immigration Reform NECESSARILY includes a Path to Citizenship, which happens to be called (by racist-baggers) "Amnesty". They are course lying, according to the dictionary: Amnesty is a "pardon without sanctions or penalties"

    February 14, 2011 09:12 pm at 9:12 pm |
  6. Aaron

    Typical politicians. Once the money from the Mexican government stopped, Barbour obviously changed his tune completely from giving amnesty to sending them all back to Mexico. It's amazing how much money influences a politician's "morals," using the term extremely loosely when applying to even plain-spoken politicians.

    February 14, 2011 09:53 pm at 9:53 pm |
  7. S.B. Stein E.B. NJ

    This should be a good way to kill his way to the nomination. I'd don't think that he would have won it in the first place.

    February 14, 2011 11:10 pm at 11:10 pm |
  8. BeverlyNC

    Republicans are liars. Romney implemented Universal Healthcare in his state of MA and now is against it. Barbour was for amensty for illegal aliens and now he is against it. He is also a racist but pretends not to be. FOX says they are a news network but someone who works there says they do just make up stories and they have no basis in fact. He also said they are a Republican hate and lie propaganda machine. We know O'Reilly. Hannity, and Beck are not only liars but total lunatics. They lie because it brings more money into their shows. Advertisers who advertise on FOX should be boycotted. If they have no integrity by advertising on a known lie-based network, then whatever they sell should not be considered reliable. Anyone who trusts a Republican needs professional help in learning how to not be so easily fooled. We even have a Supreme Court Justice, Thomas, who has been caught lying, breaking Court ethics, and fraudulently filling out Federal forms intentionally. He should be prosecuted and removed from the Court. Liars should be held accountable for their lies whether they are Senators. Governors, or fake newsmen on FOX.

    February 15, 2011 12:05 am at 12:05 am |
  9. Lobbyist Smoozer

    Perfect fit. Not only was he "a" lobbyist...he had his OWN lobbying company. He is the best choice for the GOP since they are in love with lobbyists. Whereas Obama campaigned on banning lobbyists. The GOP is always blaming govt yet they always enjoy the company of sleazy lobbyists looking for extra spare engines to milk the taxpayers for other creative ways to rob us.

    February 15, 2011 01:09 am at 1:09 am |
  10. James

    Just look at the guy's face. He is obviously a liar.

    February 15, 2011 06:07 am at 6:07 am |
  11. yaho

    Talk about hypocrisy of most of this self proclaimed coservatists.

    February 15, 2011 06:57 am at 6:57 am |
  12. Clwyd

    Barbour needs to stay in his home state or bring a translator of southern drawl. He will never make it as president as people can't understand the man!

    February 15, 2011 07:48 am at 7:48 am |