Gov. Jerry Brown, who so far has said little about the immigration crisis on the border, will meet privately with religious figures in Mexico City this week to discuss the matter, his office announced Sunday.
The Democratic governor, who was scheduled to arrive Sunday in Mexico for talks on trade and the environment, also added a meeting with Mexico’s president, Enrique Peña Nieto. That meeting, too, will be private.
Brown’s four-day trip to Mexico comes amid tension over the illegal border crossing of thousands of young immigrants from Central America.
While governors of other states have inserted themselves to various degrees in the controversy, Brown has held back.
Brown told reporters in Sacramento last week that he wants to “deal with some of the issues on the refugees” when he is in Mexico, but he did not say what, if anything, that might include.
“I see this as not so much a political issue, in terms of the underage people coming from Central America,” he said. “It’s really a humanitarian question.”
But Brown, the governor of a major border state, has come under pressure to more specifically address the crisis, including the passage of immigrants through Murrieta en route to shelter.
Brown’s office said the governor will meet Tuesday with José Horacio Gómez, the Mexico-born archbishop of Los Angeles, and “more than a dozen other religious and diplomatic leaders from Central America … to discuss immigration.”
The governor’s initial schedule did not include either meetings on the immigration issue or a visit with Mexico’s president. Brown will meet Monday with Peña Nieto, the Governor’s Office said.
More than 100 delegates, including lawmakers, corporate donors and friends of the governor, are accompanying him on the trip, his second foreign trade mission since taking office. Brown visited China last year.
The governor is expected to remain in Mexico City for the duration of the trip, overnighting in the capital city’s exclusive Polanco District.
Brown is in Mexico primarily to discuss climate change and trade. He is scheduled to return to California on Wednesday.