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Arizona AG Mark Brnovich looks to strengthen state’s relationship with Mexico

(Photo Illustration: Flickr/Gage Skidmore and Flickr/Ivan Hernández)

PHOENIX — Arizona Attorney General Mark Brnovich will join a delegation of state business leaders and elected officials on a trip to Mexico City in an effort to continue strengthening the state’s relationship with Mexico.

Brnovich, who will be in Mexico from Thursday to Saturday, said in an interview with KTAR News that having a close relationship with Mexico is good not only for the economy, but also for law enforcement.

“I do not want us to have an adversarial, hostile relationship with the Mexican government or the Mexican people because that makes my job tougher,” he said.

Brnovich explained that it becomes “a lot harder” to cooperate with Mexico on issues such as money laundering and drug trafficking if Arizona isn’t in good standings with the neighboring country.

The trip coincides with the Phoenix Suns playing two games in Mexico City. They take on the Dallas Mavericks on Thursday and the San Antonio Spurs on Saturday, becoming the first NBA team to play two regular-season games in Mexico.

The delegation also includes Arizona Gov. Doug Ducey and Phoenix Mayor Greg Stanton. The two of them, along with Brnovich, will attend the Suns game on Thursday.

While in Mexico City, Brnovich said he plans to meet with Mexican leaders in the banking industry to improve cooperation on money laundering.

He said the trip offers Arizona leaders an opportunity to go to Mexico and “let people know that we want to have a great relationship with our neighbors and friends south of the border.”

“It’s a mutually beneficial relationship,” Brnovich added. “When we work together, whether it’s law enforcement or it’s business related, it’s a win-win for both of us.”

Mexico is Arizona’s largest trading partner. In 2015, exports from Arizona to Mexico reached $9.2 billion and more than 90,000 jobs in the state depended on trade with Mexico.

The trip to Mexico City comes at a time when President-elect Donald Trump is calling for more border security and insisting that Mexico will pay for a southern border wall.

Brnovich, whose parents are immigrants from Yugoslavia, said he doesn’t believe that Trump’s calls for border security hurts relations with Mexico.

“They’re not mutually exclusive,” he said. “You can still secure the border and still have a great relationship with the country of Mexico.”

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