WASHINGTON: Conservative nonprofit Let Freedom Ring (LFR) has launched a national advertisement and grassroots campaign called "We Need a Fence" to promote the construction of a high-tech fence along the entire US/Mexico border in order to curtail illegal immigration and the alleged influx of terrorists.
The group has tapped Shirley & Banister Public Affairs ? described by LFR president Colin Hanna as "one of the most active, highest-profile PR firms that work with conservative organizations" ? to handle PR for the campaign.
Since starting the effort last week, Hanna has met with several members of Congress to gather support for the cause. This Monday, the group also started running ads on Fox News and CNN that focus on the need for a fence to prevent terrorists from entering the US. The ads are running mostly in the Washington, DC, market.
"The strategy is clearly to use PR and advertising to demonstrate the depth and breadth and overall extent and intensity of public support for this, while going to the Hill to encourage legislative leadership," Hanna said.
Polls indicate that building a security fence along the US/Mexico border has support among 80% of Americans, Hanna argued. "It is an inherently bipartisan issue but one with no clearly identified leader," he said. "And you don't often come across an 80% issue that somebody isn't scrambling to establish as his or her own."
Hanna, who suggested the security barrier built by Israel in the West Bank could serve as a model for the US version, also noted that the national security dimension has been neglected in the immigration debate. "It ought to give any American pause when he or she considers how many individuals from terrorism-sponsoring or terrorism-harboring countries are apparently trying to enter the United States illegally through Mexico," he said.
Hanna has appeared on CNN's Lou Dobbs Tonight, Fox & Friends, and Fox News Live and has been interviewed by several newspapers in states bordering Mexico, including the Dallas Morning News and the Austin American-Statesman.
"Part of what we're trying to do is leverage paid media into earned media. And so far, it's looking like a textbook case," he said.