Jul 29, 2014 12:13 AM by Associated Press
MEXICO CITY (AP) - California Gov. Jerry Brown will take another break in his trade visit to Mexico to talk about immigration reform with religious leaders from Latin America on Tuesday.
The private session will come after he discusses university exchanges and energy projects between Mexico and California. He is to sign an education agreement early in the day, then meet with Mexico's energy secretary, the president of the Senate and other officials.
Brown met with President Pena Nieto on Monday, and the governor said later that they talked about "investments in renewable energies, particularly along the border."
But while the visit was primarily aimed at business matters, the two leaders also talked about immigration issues. They gave no details, but a statement issued by Pena Nieto's office said that "California is home to the largest Mexican community abroad, and for that reason both sides agreed to increase cooperation to ensure the welfare of that population."
Brown plans to meet with more than a dozen Central American religious leaders and Los Angeles Catholic Archbishop Jose Horacio Gomez to discuss the surge of unaccompanied Central American youth and families illegally crossing into the United States.
"We could never solve the problem only at the border," Brown said at a news conference Monday night. "The problem is at its essence a humanitarian issue."
Earlier Monday, the Democratic governor took a not-so-subtle dig at the decision by his Republican counterpart in Texas to deploy National Guard troops to the border.
Asked about Gov. Rick Perry's move, Brown said: "I hesitate to comment on the thinking that goes into the sending of the Texas National Guard to the border. I would suspect that it would be of relatively short duration and that wiser minds will prevail in the next several months."
Perry announced last week that he was sending up to 1,000 National Guard troops to the Texas-Mexico border over the next month to combat what he said are criminals exploiting the surge of children pouring into the U.S. illegally.
Brown said the immigration surge has become politicized, adding: "My goal is to try as much as I can to frame the issue of the children as a humanitarian challenge. That should appeal to people of all political persuasions."
In addition to discussing immigration and energy with Mexico's president, Brown said they also talked about ways to shorten long waits at the Tijuana-San Diego international bridge.
"Whatever has to be done in two hours can be done in 15 minutes, or maybe in 30 minutes. The question is what it would take to transform the delay into an appropriate, much briefer period of waiting," Brown said.
Brown said he expects to have some proposals by the time Pena Nieto visits California in August.
The three-day trade mission led by Brown is aimed at increasing direct investments in California, promoting university exchanges and forming environmental partnerships to combat climate change.
On Wednesday, the governor plans to wrap up his trip by signing a trade agreement with Mexico, which is California's largest export market.
The trip, organized by the California Chamber of Commerce, includes a delegation of more than 100 people representing state government, business, economic development, investment and policy. Delegates paid $5,000 each for the trip, which is subsidizing the cost of Brown's travel.