Breaking his public silence on the recent surge in illegal immigration, Gov. Jerry Brown called on Republicans in Congress on Friday to work with President Obama on solving the “human tragedy” rather than trying to gain political advantage.
FOR THE RECORD
An earlier version of this post quoted Gov. Jerry Brown as saying, "And, by the way, accidentally, of some of the policies of the last 20 and 30 years.” He actually said: "And not, by the way, accidentally, from some of the policies of the last 20 and 30 years.”
“It’s a problem, and we get it solved not with rhetoric, but by the Republicans getting together with President Obama, and with the presidents in Central America, and dealing with it as a total challenge -- not just as an opportunity to get some political class a few points ahead,” Brown told delegates at an American Federation of Teachers convention in Los Angeles.
Brown stopped short of explicitly endorsing Obama’s proposed $3.7 billion in emergency spending on border security and other measures to try to resolve the crisis sparked by the arrival of thousands of unaccompanied children who crossed the Mexican border into Texas.
Brown also made light of the crisis, saying immigrants were rushing to California “because they think it’s great.”
“They may come in through Texas, because they have so many holes in the border down there,” Brown joked. “But they usually want to get over to California as fast as they can. Because stuff is happening here.”
As murmurs of laughter spread across the convention floor, Brown added: “I’m not saying I’m encouraging it. I’m not. No.”
Republicans in California have been pressuring Brown to take action in the days since protesters started trying to block immigrant detainees from reaching a Border Patrol processing facility in Murrieta.
Neel Kashkari, Brown’s Republican challenger in the November election, has called on the Democratic governor to lobby Washington for stronger enforcement of immigration laws.
Melissa Melendez, a Republican assemblywoman who represents Murrieta, urged Brown this week to provide state resources for public safety amid continuing demonstrations and counter-demonstrations. She suggested Brown could call in the National Guard to bolster local law enforcement or declare a state of emergency to make money available.
In his remarks to teachers at the L.A. Convention Center, Brown gave no indication he’d take any specific action, instead focusing on the political clash in Washington.
“Everybody’s blaming -- it’s Obama’s fault, it’s the border this and that,” he said, raising his voice. “Wait a minute, we’ve got a human tragedy here. We’ve got kids whose throats are being slashed in El Salvador and Honduras and Guatemala. And not, by the way, accidentally, from some of the policies of the last 20 and 30 years.”