With few official duties to worry about during the summer recess, California politicians have turned their attention to the burgeoning border crisis caused by a surge of Central American children crossing illegally into the U.S.
Last week, a group of state lawmakers toured a temporary detention facility in Ventura County, demanding federal action; Assemblywoman Melissa Melendez, R-Lake Elsinore, called for state intervention in the protest-riddled town of Murrieta; and Gov. Jerry Brown finally spoke about the situation, deeming it a “human tragedy.”
Now another team of California legislators, led by state Senate President Pro Tem Darrell Steinberg, is traveling to El Salvador, Guatemala and Panama for the next nine days to meet with leaders about the immigration dilemma, as well as trade and investment. Steinberg will be joined Sen. Ellen Corbett, D-San Leandro, and Assemblymen Jose Medina, D-Riverside, Henry T. Perea, D-Fresno, V. Manuel Peréz, D-Coachella, and Luis Alejo, D-Watsonville.
Guatemala and El Salvador, where the delegation will meet with President Salvador Sánchez Cerén among others, are two of the main countries from which the flow of immigrants is originating, driven by gang violence and other factors. In Panama, lawmakers will learn about expansion of the canal.