While the U.S.-Mexico border has been in the national and international spotlight recently, political leaders who represent the border region say California should take a lead role in addressing border issues
California State Sen. Ben Hueso represents the 40th District. which encompasses much of the area along the border. He told NBC 7 that more counties and cities across California should step up -- in ways similar to how San Diego has -- to partner with the federal government and offer up spaces and facilities like the convention center, where unaccompanied minors seeking asylum are currently being temporarily housed.
"It's not a problem that's limited to the border cities and the border counties," Hueso said. "I would like to see more parts of the state become part of the solution because, frankly, this affects our entire state and our entire country, and all the border states should be part of the solution."
Hueso recently proposed legislation to form a California Border Commission that would be made up of elected representatives from San Diego County and Imperial County as well as the public. He hopes it will raise issues and concerns with the California legislature so that officials can better propose policy to address those issues.
Right now, Hueso said, higher rates of COVID-19 along the border and the influx of unaccompanied minors would be top priorities of the commission.
"The commission could be involved in shaping policy and influencing Washington, and being a potential part of the solution," Hueso said. "California has a very big influence in Washington. We always do, regardless of who is president."
The commission bill is making its way through the legislative process. Hueso is hoping the governor will sign it by September.