President Enrique Peña Nieto
President Enrique Peña Nieto Reuters

Mexican President, Enrique Peña Nieto, was invited to pay a two-day visit to California by Governor Jerry Brown, who visited Mexico last month. The purpose of his visit was mainly to backup immigration reforms and meet with immigrant friendly leaders, including L.A. Mayor, Eric Garcetti and the DREAMers. In his statement, Peña Nieto praised the state of California and warned other states who are falling behind: “We know some states haven’t evolved as much as California, which still skimp on recognition and, even worse, on the rights of immigrants. To those who still believe and bet on exclusion, discrimination and diversity rejection… I have something to say to you: the future, the very near future will show your ethical mistake. Time will show we are right.”

He proceeded to all governments who are against immigration saying, “far from helping your states, you are just affecting the principles and values of democracy, respect towards human rights and equality.” Brown also delivered a speech to speak about the cultural and historical ties both countries share. He mentioned the bill he signed to bill to enable immigrants to get their driver’s license, “It wasn’t very long ago that the governor of California was outlawing driver’s licenses for people who were undocumented from Mexico. That’s not the law anymore.” The Governor also spoke about the tensions there have been and referred to 1994 when Californians voted for Proposition 187 which suggested banning illegal immigrants from all social services including health care and education. This was then reversed by the courts.

Also positive about this visit, Raúl Hinojosa, a professor of Chicano Studies at University of California, said that these were three key leaders for immigration reforms, “There’s a positive way forward, in terms of working collectively, especially on issues of human and immigrant rights on both sides of the border,” Hinojosa said.

Brown held a luncheon on Tuesday to which he invited every state lawmaker, and to which a majority from the Assembly and the Senate attended. Even though California has an open meeting law, reporters where banned from the event as Brown spokesman, Evan Westrup said, “This is not a policy meeting, it’s a lunch.”

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