BROWNSVILLE, Texas – Brownsville Mayor Trey Mendez says he supports all projects that help get Mexican citizens that want to come to the Rio Grande Valley vaccinated.

That would include a pilot program that would see Mexican nationals being given a wristband when they cross the Gateway International Bridge to allow them to get a Covid-19 vaccine at the old downtown H-E-B store in Brownsville. 

This pilot program has been championed by veteran broadcaster and public policy advocate Ron Whitlock throughout 2021. Whitlock asked Mendez if he supports the initiative at a news conference held at the Brownsville Events Center.

“Absolutely, I think it is important,” Mendez, pictured above, responded. “We have done some Covid vaccines already with Matamoros. We did 3,000 vaccines about two months ago. I am always in support of vaccinating Mexican citizens that are coming into the U.S. I think that is a big point in the reopening of the bridges. That has clearly been stated by the administration. Those that are vaccinated are going to be allowed in, starting now, today. It is expected that everyone coming in within a couple of months will need to have had the vaccine so I support that initiative, absolutely. Easy question, Ron.”

Whitlock is hoping U.S. Sen. John Cornyn pushes the pilot program in his conversations with the White House. “Just like the temporary travel restrictions, only two people have the authority to approve our vaccination pilot program – President Biden and Homeland Security Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas,” Whitlock said. “We hope our congressional delegation will get behind this important project. The more Mexican citizens that have the vaccination, the safer and more prosperous our interwoven economies will be.”

Esmy Villarreal, president and CEO of Brownsville Chamber of Commerce, said she has heard of another idea that could gain traction.

“As of last Friday I was fortunate to attend a press conference with Cameron County Judge Eddie Trevino, Jr., at the port of entry director at the Veterans Bridge and they did mention the possibility of conducting clinics here in the port of entries for all travelers now that, in the United States, we do have the available vaccinations for children ages five to 11. In Mexico they are still not ready (for this),” Villarreal said. 

Whitlock provided the Rio Grande Guardian with a list of supporters for the pilot program in Brownsville. The list included U.S. Sen. John Cornyn, former Cameron County Judge and now Texas Democratic Party Chair Gilberto Hinojosa, Majestic Theater owner and real estate agent Larry Jokl, IBC Bank President Dennis Nixon, Dr. Belinda Reininger of UT-Houston Health Science Center in Brownsville, Cameron County Judge and Texas Border Coalition President Eddie Treviño, former governor of Rotary Club International Andy Hagen, Brownsville Fire Chief Jarrett Sheldon, and Brownsville Public Health Director, Dr. Arturo Rodríguez.

A new addition to the list is U.S. Ambassador to Mexico, Ken Salazar. Click here to read Salazar’s comments, along with those of U.S. Rep. Vicente Gonzalez.

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