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L.A. Mayor Urges Status for Mexicans

November 6, 2001

MEXICO CITY (AP) _ Mexicans who have lived illegally for years in Los Angeles should be given legal status as permanent U.S. residents, the city’s mayor said Tuesday.

Speaking at a news conference near the end of his two-day visit to Mexico, Los Angeles Mayor James Hahn said he believed Mexicans who have established themselves in California should be allowed to stay.

``I think that what we are looking for is some kind of legal status that needs to be recognized for people who have been in Los Angeles for a number of years,″ he said.

Hahn, who took office in July, wants to win over his city’s Hispanic voters after defeating former state legislator Antonio Villaraigosa. Villaraigosa would have been Los Angeles’ first Latino mayor since 1872.

Hahn made his comments after helping announce a new, daily Aeromexico flight from Ontario, Calif., to Hermosillo, Mexico. The mayor has asked airlines to look at expansion plans outside of Los Angeles, specifically in Ontario, because of overcrowding.

On Monday, Hahn announced the opening of an international business development office to enhance the city’s already booming trade relationship with Mexico.

``We are more than friends,″ he said Tuesday. ``We are business partners.″

The mayor said he wanted trade relations with Mexico to continue to expand despite the economic downturn following the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks.

``What we want to make sure is that the terrible events of Sept. 11 don’t reduce opportunities for our countries,″ Hahn said.

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