DALLAS—The Mexican government has hired Fleishman-Hillard’s Dallas-based public affairs unit, Allyn & Co., to help it frame its response to anti-immigrant measures in the U.S. House of Representatives. The move sparked controversy, with many former allies of Republic strategist Rob Allyn angry at his decision to work for the Mexicans on this issue.
Allyn, who was a senior advisor to Mexican President Vicente Fox during his successful election campaign, which resulted in the ouster of a party that had led Mexico for 71 years, also created advertising for President Bush in Texas.
But his decision to go back to work for Fox on the immigration issue has angered anti-immigrant forces and led to a call for “patriots” to boycott the firm. According to a column by the San Diego Union Tribune’s Ruben Navarrette, one critic wrote Allyn demanding that the consultant “register as a foreign alien agent” and calling him “disgusting and treasonous.”
Allyn says his firm has been hired to provide the facts about “the real Mexico,” including recent democratic reforms and the fact that the country is America’s second largest trade partner, buying $111 billion of U.S. goods last year.
Mexico is alarmed by a House measure, passed just before the Christmas recess, which authorized the construction of a 700-mile wall, costing $8 billion, to prevent cross-border traffic. The House bill also alls on military and local law enforcement officials to stem the tide of illegal immigrants and requires companies to verify the legal status of their workers. The Senate will take up the legislation when it returns in February.
Mexico’s foreign secretary, Luis Ernesto Derbez, has accused the U.S. of bowing to “xenophobic extremists.”