Steinberg, Corbett to lead trip to Central America

State Senate President Pro Tem Darrell Steinberg and Majority Leader Ellen Corbett will lead a delegation of state lawmakers to Central America next week, in part to explore the political, economic and social situation driving a flood of unaccompanied children to the U.S. border.

centralamerica-political-mapThe lawmakers will meet with an array of officials in El Salvador and Guatemala to probe the situation and find out what states like California can do to meet the humanitarian challenge presented by the undocumented immigrant tsunami. Dangerous conditions in those nations and Honduras have driven parents to send more than 52,000 children north to the U.S. border in recent months.

Steinberg, D-Sacramento, and Corbett, D-Hayward, will be joined on the trip by Legislative Latino Caucus members Assemblyman Jose Medina, D-Riverside; Assemblyman Henry Perea, D-Fresno; Assemblyman V. Manuel Peréz, D-Coachella; and caucus vice-chair Assemblyman Luis Alejo, D-Watsonville.

The trip, from July 14 through 23, will include a stop in Panama to learn about the Canal Zone’s expansion. Some transportation, security and interpreting service costs are being borne by the host countries, and the remaining expenses – including airfare and hotels – will be paid by the lawmakers.

In El Salvador, the lawmakers are scheduled to meet with Salvadoran President Salvador Sanchez Ceren, Vice President Oscar Ortiz, Foreign Affairs Minister Hugo Martinez, Economy Minsiter Tharsis Salomon Lopez Guzman; Legislative Assembly President Sigfrido Reyes; and U.S. Ambassador Mari Carmen Aponte. In Guatemala, they’re scheduled to meet with Vice-minister of Foreign Relations Oscar Padilla Lam; Paul Briere, President of the Congressional Committee for Migrants of Guatemala; and U.S. Charge d’Affaires Charisse Phillips. And in Panama, they’re scheduled to meet with the Panama Canal Authority and U.S. Ambassador Jonathan Farrar.

Josh Richman

Josh Richman covers state and national politics for the Bay Area News Group. A New York City native, he earned a bachelor’s degree in journalism from the University of Missouri and reported for the Express-Times of Easton, Pa. for five years before coming to the Oakland Tribune and ANG Newspapers in 1997. He is a frequent guest on KQED Channel 9’s “This Week in Northern California;” a proud father; an Eagle Scout; a somewhat skilled player of low-stakes poker; a rather good cook; a firm believer in the use of semicolons; and an unabashed political junkie who will never, EVER seek elected office.

  • Willis James

    ” Some transportation, security and interpreting service costs are being borne by the host countries, and the remaining expenses – including airfare and hotels – will be paid by the lawmakers.”

    Oh, I’m sure Corbett and Steinberg are going to be paying for this out of their own pocket. I think, you mean paid for by their slush-fund campaign donations, still remaining in their “termed-out” accounts.

    Nice holiday paid for by lobbyists (indirectly of course).

    BTW, is there even one legislator in the bunch who just might come back saying they are for tighter border security, or for sending the 60,000 “children” back (mostly males between 15 and 17).

    Like we have no young men in California endangered by gangs and needing jobs. Perhaps the very same jobs some of these young arrivals will take as I’m sure they’re willing to do the work for less than a young California man.

    We await their appraisal. Shock me with a response by any of them that isn’t politically correct…. Such as what you hear from Congressman Henry Cuellar (D) Texas.

  • Elwood

    What Willis James said!

  • Elwood

    With a little bit of luck, maybe they’ll all be eaten by alligators.

  • Dale Warner

    Interesting that the criminal cultures of the sending countries are overlooked for the most part. Sending the children home on gunboats to seize the treasuries of the sending countries and the unlawful windfall incomes of the local oligarchs in order to provide housing, nutrition, and educations to these children makes a lot more sense.