‘It’s a lack of resources’: local officials respond to senators’ visit to the RGV

Local News

RIO GRANDE VALLEY, Texas (KVEO) —U.S. Senators Ted Cruz and John Cornyn are scheduled to visit the Rio Grande Valley on Friday to tour the immigration situation at the border, but some local officials say this is not a crisis, it’s a lack of resources.  

“Whether Republicans were in office, or in power, whether Democrats were in power-we’ve had these surges before,” said Joel Villarreal, Rio Grande City Mayor.  

Villarreal said he has not been contacted by either Cruz or Cornyn who both will be on the tour, and Starr County Judge Eloy Vera told KVEO the same.   

“I have not and my office has not had any contact other than what we have heard in the media,” said Eloy Vera.   

They said that for the Rio Grande City it’s about a lack of resources.  

“It’s imperative that we get the funding to address it, make sure law enforcement has the resources available—and municipalities as well that are dealing with the influx of migrants as well,” said Villarreal.   

Customs and Border Protection data shows that the number of arrests of migrants that illegally entered the U.S. from 2021 is not far from 2019, the difference is the pandemic. 

“However, back then we did not have COVID-19 and that’s what very alarming. For us over here is that these people are coming across, we don’t have the resources to house them, to test them,” said Vera.  

McAllen Mayor Jim Darling said they have been in discussions with local and federal representatives in a statement.  

“Our local state and federal elected officials have discussed the immigration/asylum issues facing our city with us.  We have discussed the issue with the Governor’s office,” said Darling in a statement.

Brownsville’s Mayor Trey Mendez said that they also remain in constant communication with the Biden administration and federal representatives.  

“I am in constant communication with federal and Biden administration officials to coordinate efforts and resources, as well as to advocate for the City of Brownsville’s needs to be able to respond to any immigration situation appropriately,” said Mendez. “As always, the City and Commission’s primary focus is the health and safety of our community and staff.”

Both Rio Grande City and Starr County agreed that they are seeing increased activity in their areas, but Villarreal said they need the right type of national attention.   

“Whether it’s undocumented immigrants coming through the border, whether its lawlessness—at least the perceived…Perception of the valley that is untrue,” said Villarreal. “We need to have a consisted border policy that addresses the issues.”   

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