Jim Gibbons discusses issues from immigration to tourism | NevadaAppeal.com

Jim Gibbons discusses issues from immigration to tourism

Gov. Jim Gibbons said Monday that Mexican officials are working to address some of the issues that draw the most protests over illegal immigration.

He said the Windows of Health program, which provides some level of health care to all Mexican nationals, will be introduced in New York as a trial program. He said the idea is that American providers who treat Mexican nationals – legal or not – would be able to get reimbursed at least in part by the Mexican government.

In a telephone conference call interview from Mexico City, Gibbons said he would like to add Nevada to the list for that trial program.

“We’ll look at what New York is doing. We’ll look and see if we can make the program work in Nevada.”

He said he can’t imagine someone in Nevada opposing the idea because “costs that are normally borne by health-care providers in Nevada would be shared by the Mexican government.”

Gibbons is in Mexico to discuss illegal immigration, drug smuggling and other issues with government officials there. He said he is also convinced the Mexican government is now serious about stopping illegal drug, guns and human traffic into and out of the U.S.

“I get the absolute sense they are serious,” he said. “They realize the economic input that flows is not one way.”

Specifically, Gibbons said Mexico doesn’t produce arms and weapons like grenades and rockets. Much of that contraband comes into Mexico from the U.S. and they want to stop it.

He said he is enthusiastic about some of the other possibilities for partnerships with the Mexican government. He said he discussed bringing Mexican law enforcement to Nevada to learn some advanced techniques for dealing with large tourist populations. He said they discussed bringing bilingual teachers from Mexico to help educate Nevada’s growing population of Hispanics who have very limited English language abilities.

Along those lines, he said they also discussed legal immigration for a “skilled, trained work force capable of meeting the needs of some businesses in Nevada.”

And he said they discussed ways to increase the number of Mexican tourists who come to Nevada each year.

“I think we made a lot of progress and a better understanding between the Mexican government and the state of Nevada,” he said.

Gibbons continues his visit to Mexico today, discussing health care issues with officials in Guadalajara.

• Contact reporter Geoff Dornan at gdornan@nevadaappeal.com or 687-8750.