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San Diego, Tijuana Mayors Reaffirm Regional Partnership

San Diego, Tijuana Mayors Reaffirm Regional Partnership

GUEST:

Steve Walsh, reporter, KPBS News

Transcript

The mayors of San Diego and Tijuana reaffirmed the partnership of the two border cities Monday in the face of U.S. President Donald Trump's immigration policies.

San Diego Mayor Kevin Faulconer and Tijuana Mayor Juan Manuel Gastelum told reporters that they plan to renew a memorandum of understanding in the next few weeks spelling out how the two municipal governments will cooperate.

Department directors of the two cities meet frequently to hash out various issues, per the terms of the current MOU.

Neither mayor mentioned Trump or his policies specifically and didn't offer criticism. Yet the new president's demand for a wall between the U.S. and Mexico and criticism of the North American Free Trade Agreement — NAFTA — provided a backdrop for the event.

Faulconer said it's important that officials talk about what's working at the local level.

"We can't control what happens outside our cities, but I know this, we will continue our story of collaboration, our story of friendship, and we will continue working together for the prosperity of our people," Faulconer said.

Tijuana provides San Diego with access to trading partners "that other regions only dream about," and brings jobs and investment, Faulconer said.

The "mega-region" is home to the busiest border crossing in North America and the largest hub for medical device manufacturing in the world, he said.

Gastelum, who has been in office for two months, said the cities are separated by an international border, but "united by a common goal" to bring prosperity to their people and creating jobs on both sides of the border.

"For the last few years, Tijuana and San Diego have made great strides to work together," Gastelum said. "I look forward to continue this partnership (and keep) the line of communication open."

Jerry Sanders, president and CEO of the San Diego Regional Chamber of Commerce, said the mayors were making "an important statement," adding that the mission of economic cooperation between the two cities "has never been more important than it is today."

Sanders said the chamber will continue to be a strong advocate for cross- border commerce and policies that strengthen the region's global competitiveness.

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