In a speech to a joint session of the California Legislature, Mexican President Enrique Peña Nieto said he chose the state for his first official trip to the United States because of its welcoming stance toward immigrants from his country.
"I want to thank you for everything you have done favoring migrants," he said.
Peña Nieto, who spoke mostly in Spanish, received a standing ovation after his introduction from Gov. Jerry Brown.
"We are joining hands with Mexico," Brown said. "There is so much we can do together."
On Monday he was in Los Angeles, where he appeared with Brown and spoke to a crowd of hundreds.
Peña Nieto said he would work to improve the lives of Mexicans living on both sides of the border with the United States.
"This is the other Mexico," he said of the United States, home to an estimated 11 million Mexican immigrants.