Immigration Border Problems: Gov. Chris Christie to Skip Mexico Border Visit During Economic, Trade Trip
Republican New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie is set to arrive in Mexico for a three-day trade talk, but immigration might not be a top priority for the potential presidential candidate.
Christie's visit includes a meeting with Mexico President Enrique Peña Nieto on Wednesday, followed by meetings with Mexican cabinet ministers. Although Christie will meet with several Mexican officials and lawmakers, immigration is not the main focus of the trip. According to Christie, the topic of immigration may be discussed, but the governor is intent is on promoting economic and trade cooperation with Mexico.
"I don't know what other topics will come up. I'm going to be engaging in conversations with the president of Mexico and high-level cabinet ministers of his. So whatever issues they want to talk about I'll be happy to discuss," said Christie, emphasizing the economic cooperation as the "main thrust" of the trip.
Christie also announced no plans to visit the U.S.-Mexico border.
"What would I do exactly? Like, you know, bring troops with me or something? I mean come on. This is silliness," Christie said about a border visit. "If I went down there and looked at it, what steps am I supposed to take exactly? Send the New Jersey National Guard there?"
The Latino Coalition, an advocacy organization for Latino-owned small and mid-sized businesses, noted Christie will promote job creation, energy and higher education while in Mexico.
"There couldn't be a more important time than today for leaders, like Governor Christie, to understand how hugely significant the relationship of Mexico and the United States is," said The Latino Coalition Chairman Hector Barreto, a former administrator of the U.S. Small Business Administration.
"As a prominent government official, Christie recognizes the critical problems both nations face in regards to trade, security, economic growth, immigration, energy and education. He recognizes that the U.S. needs to strengthen ties and bridge the gap between two nations with shared borders and history."
The New Jersey Star Ledger reported the state exported over $2.1 billion in goods to Mexico during 2013 and accrued $3.4 billion in imports.
According to Bloomberg, the Mexico trip will be Christie's second foreign visit as governor, following a 2012 trip to Israel.
Based on an Iowa poll, the state holding the first presidential caucus in 2016, Christie is the third most popular potential Republican presidential candidate, after former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney and former Arkansas Gov. Mike Huckabee.
A U.S. governor visiting Mexico is not uncommon. As Latin Post reported, California Gov. Jerry Brown visited Mexico in late July for climate change and economic talks. Immigration was also not a primary topic of discussion during Brown's visit. Peña Nieto also visited California in late August and complimented The Golden State for its efforts on immigration.