California governor kicks off Mexico trade mission
SACRAMENTO, California (AP) — California’s governor travels to Mexico for three days starting Monday and will discuss immigration in separate meetings with President Enrique Pena Nieto and Central American diplomatic and religious leaders.
Gov. Jerry Brown’s office announced Sunday that he will meet privately with Nieto on Monday about topics including immigration. It comes amid a trade mission aimed at increasing direct investments in the most populous U.S. state, promoting university exchanges and forming environmental partnerships to combat climate change. Mexico is California’s largest export market.
The meeting Tuesday with more than a dozen Central American leaders and Los Angeles Archbishop Jose Horacio Gomez comes as a surge of unaccompanied young migrants and families mostly from El Salvador, Honduras and Guatemala have crossed the U.S. border since October.
The trip, organized by the California Chamber of Commerce, includes a delegation of more than 100 state government, business, economic development, investment and policy leaders. Delegates paid $5,000 each for the four-day trip, which is subsidizing the cost of Brown’s travel.
“The relationship with Mexico, the role of those of Mexican heritage in California, is fundamental to our schools, to our well-being, and I think this trip will be productive,” Brown said ahead of the journey.
“We want to increase trade. We want to deal with some issues on the refugees that are coming across the border. And I also want to collaborate with Mexico in pushing an intelligent climate change agenda,” the governor said.
Brown is scheduled to begin his visit by meeting with Eruviel Avila, the governor of the state of Mexico. He will then sign a memorandum of understanding with Mexico’s Ministry of Environment and Natural Resources, promote California tourism and meet the U.S. ambassador to Mexico.
Also Monday, Brown will sit down with Mexico’s secretary of foreign affairs, Jose Antonio Meade Kuribrena, whom the governor met with last week in California. The governor said Wednesday that long-term solutions such as trade and cultural exchanges are needed to improve the safety and economic well-being of Mexico and Central American countries.
The Democratic governor said the influx of immigrants is more a humanitarian issue than a political one and that California “is willing to do its part,” but he didn’t provide details on what actions he might take. California Attorney General Kamala Harris said Thursday that she is helping secure lawyers to represent minors during immigration hearings.
Mexico’s foreign affairs secretary said Wednesday that the country is looking to help fight immigrant trafficking by tightening control at its Guatemalan border, which is known to be porous.
On Tuesday, Brown will sign an education agreement, then meet with officials including Mexico’s energy secretary and the president of the senate. On Wednesday, the governor plans to end his trip by signing a trade agreement with Mexico.
Business participants include Sempra Energy, BP America and other representatives of the energy, tourism and agriculture industries. Representatives of the Natural Resources Defense Council and the Environmental Defense Fund will also attend.