MCALLEN, Texas – If the U.S.-Mexican border is closed to non-essential traffic, the government could also beef up security at the checkpoints at Sarita and Falfurrias to stop people coming south.
That is the view of U.S. Rep. Vicente Gonzalez, D-McAllen. In an exclusive interview with the Rio Grande Guardian, Gonzalez pointed out that the Valley is geographically isolated and that could be an advantage during the current coronavirus crisis.
Gonzalez was asked if he would support restricting movement from the north – should the U.S.-Mexico border be closed to non-essential traffic, Gonzalez said:
“That is interesting. I would not be opposed to that idea if it would keep us safe,” he said.
On Wednesday, the U.S. and Canadian governments agreed to close their border to non-essential traffic. Many analysts believe it is only a matter of time before the same agreement is announced between the U.S. and Mexico.
If traffic is blocked from traveling into the Valley from the south and the north, the argument goes, there would be less chance of the region getting a large outbreak of coronavirus.
The main message Gonzalez wanted to get across is that thanks to local leaders, the Valley is ahead of the game. “We are learning from what is happening in other places,” he said.
Gonzalez added: “The message to the community needs to be that we stay calm. I don’t think that has been explained to people properly because the over-reaction has been extreme. There are some places you to and they are completely calm. Nobody is forecasting a food supply shortage. And in no way can the coronavirus impact our water supply. So it is really shocking when I go to the grocery store and there is no water. That just tells you that there is so much misinformation going on. We need to inform the community that we are going to be okay. We are going to get past this.”
Ron Whitlock of Ron Whitlock Reports said the Valley could be getting accurate and real-time information on the coronavirus if it had an NPR and PBS station. Gonzalez agreed.