Published August 25, 2014
Mexican President Enrique Peña Nieto is spending two days in California, where he is meeting with Gov. Jerry Brown, who traveled to Mexico last month.
Peña Nieto is visiting California Monday and Tuesday.
On Monday afternoon, both the governor and the president are scheduled to speak to hundreds of Mexican and Mexican-American leaders, the governor’s office said last week.
And on Tuesday, Brown will host a luncheon in the president’s honor in Sacramento. Peña Nieto will then address the Legislature at the state Capitol.
There was no immediate word on what Peña Nieto plans to say, but Mexico and the U.S. share concerns about a host of issues, including immigration and pollution. Mexico also is California’s largest export market.
Mexico also ranks first in the number of international visitors coming to L.A. with 1.6 million in 2011.
The president’s visit comes as the U.S. is grappling with a border crisis that has seen more than 60,000 children illegally crossing the Mexican border the past year. Though the children are coming from Central American countries like Honduras, El Salvador and Guatemala – they are all crossing through Mexico to arrive in the United States. The U.S. has called on Mexico to help it deal with the growing crisis.
In March, Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti traveled to Mexico on his first international trade mission and met with President Nieto and other officials and business leaders.
“Mexico’s economy is rapidly transforming, and I want to make sure we are aggressive about creating opportunities to attract investment into Los Angeles and to develop markets for L.A. exports,” Garcetti said, according to published reports.
Meanwhile, a California state assemblyman plans to stage a protest outside the governor’s mansion to demand that Peña Nieto ensure the release of a U.S. Marine held captive in Mexico.
Assemblyman Tim Donnelly, who recently lost in a bid to become the Republican nominee in the gubernatorial election in November, declined an invitation to the luncheon and assailed Brown for hosting the luncheon in honor of the Mexican president.
"I am writing to decline your luncheon invitation,” read the letter Donnelly sent Brown, which the assemblyman made public, “and to express my deep disappointment that you would entertain the president of a nation that is holding an active-duty U.S. Marine captive."
Sgt. Andrew Tahmooressi has said that he was headed to dinner in San Ysidro on March 31 when he mistakenly wound up at a border crossing in Tijuana.
He said Mexican authorities found three guns inside the pick-up truck he had recently driven to California in a recent move from Florida to San Diego.
He was jailed and is being held in a federal penitentiary in Tecate without bail.
In his letter to Brown, Donnelly also took issue with the governor’s recent trip to Mexico and what he said was the governor’s failure to raise the issue of Tahmooressi's release.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.