Why Mexico’s top diplomat is important to Dreamers, current U.S. politics

Mexico’s Foreign Relations Secretary, Luis Videgaray, is visiting Sacramento Monday to discuss a number of topics pertaining to California and Mexico.

The top Mexican diplomat’s visit comes amid rocky times between the neighboring countries over President Donald Trump’s border wall and immigration and trade proposals.

Videgaray will be touring the State Capitol, the Governor’s Mansion, and the Consulate General of Mexico and will meet with Gov. Jerry Brown and other politicians, as well as a group of DACA recipients. He is expected to talk about subjects such as clean energy, climate change, education, immigration laws and the recent rescinding of the DACA program.

California is a known immigrant-friendly, sanctuary state and is also home to more DACA recipients than any other state. Of the 800,000 DACA recipients, three-quarters of them are Mexican. Videgaray is expected to talk about how Mexico is responding to the Trump administration’s decision to pull back the program.

Videgaray’s visit to the State Capitol is important during the current political climate, since his role serves to manage the relationship between Mexico and the U.S. Videgaray is expected to create a working bridge between senior members of the Trump administration. He’s met with important figures several times since being appointed earlier this year, in an attempt to better the relationship and conversations between the two countries since Trump became president.

He essentially serves as the mediator between the neighbors.

Here are 5 things to know about Videgaray:

1. Luis Videgaray Caso was appointed Secretary of Foreign Affairs in January 2017, but he’s not new to serving in a government role. Prior to his current job title, he served as Secretary of Finance and Public Credit, where he managed the Mexican federal government’s economic policy in financial, fiscal, expenditure, revenues, and public debt matters.

2. In 2012, Videgaray managed Mexico’s President Enrique Peña Nieto’s presidential campaign. He is considered to be the president’s most trusted adviser, but was forced to resign from his previous government position as finance minister after arranging a disastrous, controversial visit from Donald Trump to Mexico last year. Peña Nieto received outrage from the Mexican people after he failed to stand up to Trump’s public promise to build a wall between the U.S. and Mexico, even as he stood side-by-side the American president during a news conference. Additionally, Peña Nieto didn’t demand an apology from Trump for calling Mexicans “rapists” and criminals. The entire meeting was seen as humiliating to Mexico. According to The Guardian, Videgaray had urged for the visit to happen despite objections from the foreign ministry. He stepped down as a result, even though it was believed he still had the president’s ear, which is why it was no surprise to most when he was appointed Secretary of Foreign Affairs. 

3. Videgaray met with U.S. Secretary of State, Rex Tillerson, only a few weeks ago in late August, right before Trump announced his decision to rescind DACA, but it’s not reported the two discussed the topic. Instead, Tillerson thanked Videgaray for Mexico’s generous offer to help in wake of Hurricane Harvey and the men discussed NAFTA trade negotiations.

4. The Foreign Relations Secretary’s visit to Sacramento is important for Dreamers because he is expected to discuss the ways the Mexican government plans to support the group. Mexico already announced plans to create a special job bank for those affected and support their education. 

5. Videgaray holds a bachelor’s degree in economics from Autonomous Technological Institute of Mexico (ITAM) and a PhD in economics with a specialization in public finance from Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT).

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