Mexicali (māhēkäˈlē) [key], city (1990 pop. 438,377), capital of Baja California state, NW Mexico, across the border from Calexico, Calif. Once noted chiefly as the center of a cotton- and cereal-raising area, it also has experienced since the late 20th cent. extensive construction of foreign-owned assembly plants called maquiladoras; the items produced in such plants include consumer electronics and high-technology products. The Autonomous Univ. of Baja California is there.