Newsom, a Democrat, will travel to the capital city of San Salvador, just as President Trump and U.S. border officials are calling for tougher security measures amid a spike in Central American migrants attempting to enter the U.S. through Mexico.
“While the Trump Administration demonizes those who are fleeing violence from Central America, California is committed to lifting up our immigrant communities and understanding the root causes of migration,” Newsom said in a statement. “I am looking forward to traveling to El Salvador in April to talk with the nation’s leaders and activists while deepening the bond between our families and communities.”
California is home to the largest number of El Salvadoran immigrants, Newsom’s office told the Sacramento Bee.
Trump has assailed Central American and Mexican leaders for not doing enough to stop large migrant caravans headed toward the U.S. border. Many of the migrants include children and travel in caravans for protection.
Most are asylum seekers fleeing violence and poverty. Critics of Newsom’s impending trip argue that international travel is the president’s responsibility and that he’s just boosting his anti-Trump credentials, the Desert Sun newspaper in Palm Springs reported.
“I’ve got areas in my district that are flooding,” state Assemblyman Devon Mathis, a Republican, told the paper. “Not in Central America. Come see the central San Joaquin Valley. … Come down to where we have Third World conditions.”
“I’ve got areas in my district that are flooding. Not in Central America. Come see the central San Joaquin Valley. … Come down to where we have Third World conditions.”
El Salvador has one of the highest murder rates in the world, due in part, to gangs like MS-13, which was started by Salvadoran immigrants in the U.S. and spread to El Salvador and other countries.
The trip will be Newsom’s first abroad as governor, according to the paper. His predecessor Jerry Brown traveled to Russia, China, Germany and other nations as part of his efforts to combat climate change.