MISSION, Texas – U.S. Rep. Henry Cuellar says Dr. Anthony Fauci supports the full re-opening of land ports of entry on the U.S.-Mexico border.
The bridges have been closed to so-called non-essential travel since March 2020, in order to stop the spread of COVID-19.
Cuellar spoke to Fauci by phone earlier this week. Fauci is an American immunologist and head of the U.S. National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases.
Asked if Dr. Fauci can help get the border bridges reopened to tourists and shoppers, Cuellar said: “Yes he can. In fact, we are hoping that Thursday there will be a meeting between DHS and health officials. I explained everything to him and he basically said there are ways to open up the border. I said, absolutely, that is what I have been saying. I asked him if he could follow up with DHS and if he could follow up with the White House and there is a meeting this Thursday.”
DHS stands for the Department of Homeland Security.
“We are going to wait to see what happens at the meeting. It is going to be a meeting with health advisors from DHS and other folks. I do not know who the other folks are,” Cuellar said.
“What I had mentioned to Dr. Fauci was, just find a way to open up the borders. Whatever way you do it, just find a way to open up the borders. I am hopeful that this is time they are going to do something about it.”
Cuellar reminded this reporter that he had been in detailed discussions with DHS about reopening the border bridges last winter.
“Remember, we had a way for CBP to open up the bridges with the help of local communities. But, it just went away. This is the first time since then that they, DHS, have talked about trying to open up the border. Let’s see what they do.”
CBP stands for Customs and Border Protection.
“I am hoping by the 21st of May there will be some movement. It won’t be the whole thing but if they take one step that means they will open up soon.”
Asked if he would describe the conversation with Dr. Fauci as positive, Cuellar said: “Very positive. He is sympathetic. He said what is the problem? I said, that is what I said. He said, we can find a way to open up the border safely. He got it right away. He is an amazing guy, an amazing doctor and public servant. He got it right away. What is the problem, we can do this. I felt very confident. I asked, hey, can you talk to DHS and can you talk to the White House, put everyone together. And, now there is a meeting coming up Thursday.”
Vaccines for the residents of Matamoros
News that Dr. Fauci may recommend reopening the land ports of entry on the U.S.-Mexico border has pleased public policy advocate and broadcaster Ron Whitlock. He is trying to get approval to administer COVID-19 vaccines to Matamoros residents in the old HEB store in downtown Brownsville.
“I am absolutely amazed, given that we have seen such a roadblock at the nation’s Capitol for so long now that the No. 1 man for infectious diseases, the expert, is siding with this initiative. I am elated,” Whitlock said.
Whitlock said he is pleased to announce that Rotary International is now part of the effort to vaccinate Matamoros residents at the old HEB building in downtown Brownsville.
“The Rotary Club is offering to help because Rotary International is based on service above self. Former district Governor Andy Haggen, who is president of Cardenas Motors in Brownsville, Harlingen and Raymondville, signed on earlier on to this wonderful project, on the basis that he wanted Rotary to provide administration capabilities, both on this side of the river and with their sister clubs in Matamoros and the state of Tamaulipas,” Whitlock said.
“Andy brought the sitting district governor of Rotary, Eddie Bartnesky down to Brownsville. He wholeheartedly supports the initiative of doing just that. Once we have finished inoculating the residents of Brownsville, half of whom have family members in Matamoros, we will reach out to Matamoros where half the people have family members in Brownsville.”
Once the Brownsville-Matamoros vaccination project is complete, Governor Bartnesky wants to reach out to Congressman Vicente Gonzalez, Whitlock explained.
“Congressman Gonzalez wants to make sure that the people of Central and South America get inoculated as soon as possible. He is seeking 4.8 million vials of vaccine for Latin America. Rotary International has some powerful and influential clubs in Latin America,” Whitlock said.
It is a big enough building, everything can be done under one roof, it can be secured and controlled. Brownsville Fire Chief Jarrett Sheldon,
Whitlock added: “I have requested acquisition of the historic HEB No. 001 building in downtown Brownsville from Charles Butt and his sister, Eleanor Butt Crook for this endeavor. Having spoken to Brownsville Fire Chief Jarrett Sheldon, it is clear the historic HEB building would be ideal for the vaccinations. It is a big enough building and everything can be done under one roof. And it can be secured and controlled.”
Asked about Whitlock’s plans, Congressman Cuellar said: “Right now we are trying to use the vaccines here, first, for residents here in the U.S. We are getting to the point where some people might not want to take vaccines. I hope we can get to the level where we can reach herd immunity. From there we will be happy to share some of the vaccines with other countries.”
Quality journalism takes time, effort and…. Money!
Producing quality journalism is not cheap. The coronavirus has resulted in falling revenues across the newsrooms of the United States. However, The Rio Grande Guardian is committed to producing quality news reporting on the issues that matter to border residents. The support of our members is vital in ensuring our mission gets fulfilled.
Can we count on your support? If so, click HERE. Thank you!