Mexico nominates new ambassador to U.S. amid tension over Trump rhetoric

Amid concerns of a perceived increase in anti-Mexican sentiment in the United States, the Mexican government has nominated a new ambassador to fill its embassy in Washington

The new top envoy to Washington will be Carlos Manuel Sada Solana, who is currently consul general in Los Angeles, the Foreign Relations Department said in a statement. He worked previously at the Mexican Embassy in Washington as a liaison to Congress and as consul general in New York, Chicago, San Antonio and Toronto.

Mexican officials apparently hope his extensive U.S. experience will be useful in countering a perceived increase in anti-Mexican sentiment in the United States.

"We have been warning that our citizens have begun to feel a more hostile climate," Foreign Minister Claudia Ruiz Massieu told local radio after the announcement, according to Reuters. "This (anti-Mexican) rhetoric has made it clear that we have to act in a different way so that this tendency being generated doesn't damage the bilateral relationship.”

Ruiz Massieu appeared to be making reference to Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump’s comments about Mexicans and immigration.

On Tuesday, Trump threatened to block remittances from Mexicans in the U.S. if elected president unless the country paid for his proposed border wall. Trump also said Ford's announcement that it will begin building more cars in Mexico "an absolute disgrace."

The current ambassador, Miguel Basanez, was confirmed by Mexico's Senate in September. Basanez is an academic and an expert on opinion polling who did much of his post-graduate education at British universities.

Mexican authorities will send Sada's name to Washington for approval, and he must still be confirmed by the Senate.

The United States is Mexico's biggest trade partner and home to more than 11 million Mexican-born people.

The U.S. has been without an ambassador to Mexico since last July.

President Barack Obama's nomination of Assistant Secretary of State for Western Hemisphere Affairs Roberta Jacobson to fill the position has been held up in the U.S. Senate by former presidential candidate Marco Rubio, who objected to her role in negotiating the restoration of diplomatic ties between the United States and Cuba.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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