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Mexican governors address LA city officials

The governors of seven Mexican states paid a visit Friday, April 7 to Los Angeles City Hall, where they addressed L.A. city officials. Themes like immigration and trade in the Trump era dominated the conversation.
The governors of seven Mexican states paid a visit Friday, April 7 to Los Angeles City Hall, where they addressed L.A. city officials. Themes like immigration and trade in the Trump era dominated the conversation.
Leslie Berestein Rojas/KPCC

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The governors of seven Mexican states addressed Los Angeles City Council members on Friday, in what L.A. officials said is a first. 

The governors of Baja California, Sonora, Mexico City, Guanajuato, Durango, Oaxaca, and Morelos spent part of Friday morning in the council chambers – they're in town for a conference being held at the Mexican consulate in Los Angeles.

At City Hall, the governors spoke about the close relationship between Mexico and Los Angeles: According to a University of Southern California study, more than 40 percent of Los Angeles' nearly 3.5 million immigrants are from Mexico.

Oaxaca governor Alejandro Murat pointed out how Oaxacan immigrants are represented locally.

"About 800,000 first, second and third generation are here in Los Angeles, they are part of the community," he said.

Immigration in the age of the Trump administration dominated the conversation. Murat and others said they were worried about possible future deportations.

Mexican immigrants regularly send money home to relatives in the form of remittances, a boost to the country's economy.

Border governors also said they were worried about U.S.-Mexico relations, including President Trump's desire to build a border wall, and about international trade. President Trump wants to renegotiate the North American Free Trade Agreement.

"It would affect both countries," said Claudia Pavlovich, governor of Sonora, which borders Arizona and is home to the Mexican side of the busy port of Nogales. "I think globalization is here to stay and we have to keep working on this."

Most of the governors praised Los Angeles as a "sanctuary city."

The city has not officially declared itself one, said City Council member Jose Huizar, "the fact of the matter is that there is no true definition, or accepted definition, of a sanctuary city," he said.

However, with policies like the Los Angeles Police Department's Special Order No. 40, which bars police from initiating contact with residents to ask about immigration status, Huizar said, "de facto, in practice, we are a sanctuary city."

The Trump administration has threatened to withhold federal grant funding from cities that resist enforcing federal immigration laws.