Gov. Jerry Brown: All Mexicans, Legal or Not, 'Welcome in California'

Image: Gov. Jerry Brown: All Mexicans, Legal or Not, 'Welcome in California' (Justin Sullivan/Getty Images)

Tuesday, 26 Aug 2014 03:41 PM

By Todd Beamon

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Gov. Jerry Brown said on Monday that all Mexicans — whether in the United States legally or not — are "welcome in California."

The Democrat made the remark as he introduced Mexican President Enrique Peña Nieto in Los Angeles at the Millennium Biltmore Hotel, the Los Angeles Times reports. Brown was surrounded by several hundred Mexican immigrants.

Peña Nieto is on a two-day visit to the Golden State, his first U.S. official visit since becoming president in 2012, after a recent trade mission Brown made to his country. He pledged to make life better for Mexicans living on both sides of the border.

"This is the other Mexico," Peña Nieto said of the United States, which is home to an estimated 11 million Mexican immigrants. He was scheduled to address the California Legislature in Sacramento on Tuesday.

Mexico is California's largest trading partner, receiving more than $3.9 billion in exports last year, the Times reports.

Peña Nieto also "thanked state officials for embracing foreigners, citing measures that extend state benefits to immigrants, and presented scholarships to several immigrant students enrolled at California universities," according to the Times.

Last year, Brown signed the Trust Act, which provides driver's licenses to illegal immigrants. He also expanded financial aid with the California DREAM Act that he signed in 2011.

Vote Now: Do you believe the Obama administration has secured our border with Mexico? Vote Now

Brown also pledged in his speech to "find ways to shorten long waits at the Tijuana-San Diego international border crossing," to solve the border crisis.

"If we can put a man on the moon, we can put a man from Mexico to California in 20 minutes," the governor said to laughter and applause.

In 2012, 28 percent of California's residents were born outside the U.S., according to The New York Times, with Hispanics comprising "19.2 percent of California voters" in 2010.

Further, nearly 40 percent of the Golden State's population is Hispanic, according to the Pew Research Center, making California "only the second state, behind New Mexico, where whites are not the majority and Latinos are the plurality."

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

Vote Now: Do you believe the Obama administration has secured our border with Mexico? Vote Now

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