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Emanuel, Mexican mayors stress leadership on local level

Mexico City Mayor Miguel Ángel Mancera (at lectern), Guadalajara Mayor Enrique Alfaro (left rear) and Juarez City Mayor Héctor Armando Cabada Alvídrez (right rear) joined Mayor Rahm Emanuel to discuss the relationship between cities in Mexico and the United States. | Sam Charles/Sun-Times

As President Donald Trump continues to plan the construction of a border wall between the United States and Mexico, Mayor Rahm Emanuel and mayors from three of Mexico’s largest cities held a press conference Friday to ensure the working relationships between the cities were strong and getting stronger.

Emanuel was joined by Mexico City Mayor Miguel Ángel Mancera, Guadalajara Mayor Enrique Alfaro and Juarez City Mayor Héctor Armando Cabada Alvídrez.

The four all stressed that, despite efforts on the national level to separate the countries, they are committed to working on the local level to help citizens and immigrants — the four cities’ populations total 15 million — on both sides of the border.

Efforts by the federal government to disrupt the relationship between the United States and Mexico would be more than just building a wall, Mancera said through a translator, “but rather, destroying bridges that already exist.”

Mancera went on to offer reassurance to Mexican immigrants in Chicago as well as those still living in Mexico.

“Today, we’re making sure that people who live here from Mexico, that they understand local governments are going to work together, that we can make a difference,” Mancera said. “We’re going to work very hard for your families here and for your family in Mexico.’”

Trump — who has threatened to cut federal funding to sanctuary cities such as Chicago — was not mentioned by name during the 35-minute press conference.

Last week, Emanuel and his family hosted a dinner for several DREAMers — undocumented immigrants who were brought to the United States as children — at their Ravenswood home. The mayors of the three cities in Mexico were planning to meet with the teens during their visit to Chicago.

Emanuel stressed that, in Chicago, the DREAMers were “safe, secure, supported.”

Through a translator, Alvídrez praised Emanuel “for the courage he has demonstrated to the whole world to defend human rights.”

Earlier this week, the Trump stated — without any proof — that “illegal immigrant gang members” were driving the city’s vexing gun violence.

“We are going through rather delicate times for bout our countries,” Alfaro said. “Sometimes federal governments are doing very little to give us certainty about things.

Addressing reporters, also via a translator, Alfaro said the four local leaders were sending sending a message.

“At a time where both the situation and the history of our countries is being impacted by tweeters or leaks that are being produced … several mayors of very important cities from Mexico as well as the mayor from the city of Chicago, we are sending a message that’s very clear and very solid,” he said. “Relationships amongst our countries have to continue to be strengthened.”