Gov. Newsom wants to use knowledge from El Salvador trip to change conversation on immigration

LOS ANGELES (KABC) -- California Gov. Gavin Newsom met with community leaders to discuss ways to help asylum seekers.

Newsom and his wife Jennifer met with lawmakers and Central American community leaders last Thursday at Clinca Romero in Los Angeles.

The governor announced plans for a trip to El Salvador next month. It'll be his first international trip as the governor of California.

"I want to go to El Salvador to understand what's going on firsthand," he said.

Newsom asked those in the community for insight into why they believe people are fleeing El Salvador.

California Assemblywoman Wendy Carrillo shared how she, at age 5, fled the war in El Salvador with her family, crossing at the Tijuana border.

"When I think about what's happening now, children that are being separated from their family because they may not be the mom or the father, and I think, 'I could very well be one of those children in cages now, separated from my own grandmother," Carrillo said.

Caravans of migrants from Central America have gained national attention. Migrants say they want to apply for refugee status in the U.S. due to violence they face in their home countries.

"There are no LGBT rights. There are are very limited women's rights. There's very few access to reproductive health care," Carrillo said.

One of the first bills Newsom signed as governor allocated $5 million allocated for a migrant shelter in San Diego. Newsom said he's determined to to find a solution to what he calls a humanitarian crisis at the border. He lays blame on the Trump administration, saying the president has abandoned responsibility when it comes to the legal asylum seekers.

"You cannot solve the migrant issue by building walls. It is so much more multi-faceted and complex," the governor said.

Newsom said he is set to leave for El Salvador on April 7. He said he hopes to use what he learns during his trip to change the conversation on immigration, saying he wants to move away from responding to the president, who he says "simply doesn't get it."
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