As politicians wrangle over how to handle the flow of Central American children arriving in U.S. border states, six California lawmakers have announced they will travel to El Salvador and Guatemala on Monday to meet with officials about the situation.
The California delegation includes two senators and four assemblymen, all Democrats: Senate President Pro Tem Darrell Steinberg of Sacramento, Sen. Ellen Corbett of San Leandro and Assemblymen Jose Medina of Riverside, Henry T. Perea of Fresno, V. Manuel Pérez of Coachella and Luis Alejo of Watsonville.
The meetings with Salvadoran and Guatamalan officials will cover subjects including immigration, trade and port security, says a statement about the trip from Steinberg’s office.
“Given the recent increase in Central American migrants to the U.S. border, particularly unaccompanied minors, this visit also will inform the delegation as to the political, economic and social environments on the ground in El Salvador and Guatemala, two of the three main countries from which migrants are arriving,” the statement says.
“California is one of four states where the vast majority of Central American immigrants settle. The delegation will explore what impacted-states like California can do to meet the humanitarian challenges presented by this situation.
The July 14-23 trip will also include a stop in Panama, where California legislators are supposed to meet with officials working on the expansion of the Panama Canal.
Travel expenses will be covered by a combination of the host governments and the legislators making the trip, Steinberg’s statement says, with the hosts paying for some transportation, security and interpreters, and lawmakers paying for their plane tickets and hotel rooms. Legislators can decide individually if they want to use campaign accounts or personal funds to pay for their portion, said Steinberg spokesman Rhys Williams. No lobbyists are participating in the trip, he said.