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Valley mayors weigh in on Gov. Abbott’s enhanced safety inspections

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The big rigs are back on the Pharr International Bridge - and so are the exhaustive inspections.

The truck back-ups originated from Gov. Greg Abbott, who ordered state police to inspect every 18-wheeler entering from Mexico for mechanical issues - and possibly come across a human smuggling attempt.

Abbott ordered the enhanced safety inspections after the Biden Administration announced it would end Title 42 – which allows immigration authorities to turn away migrants seeking asylum at the border due to COVID-19 concerns - on May 23.

McAllen Mayor Javier Villalobos said he’s asked Gov. Abbott to order inspections be done at random - and not on every commercial vehicle.

"And I talked to the governor and expressed my concerns, and the concerns I did have did materialize,” Villalobos said. 

Brownsville Mayor Trey Mendez said he does not support the border security measures enacted by Abbott.

“He was trying to make a political point, a lot of political theater,” Mendez said.

On Wednesday, Villalobos sent a letter to the Biden Administration asking them to reconsider lifting Title 42 out of fears that migrants will spread the new Omicron BA.2 subvariant.

“We are out of funds,” Villalobos said. “The federal government has not yet been able to - or has not allocated funds to the city of McAllen to be able to assist them like we have in the past."

Mendez said his city is prepared – to an extent.

"My concern and my conversations with the administration have always been, ‘Don't overwhelm us,’” Mendez said. “We have a certain capacity. We worked well for a year and a half."

The city of Brownsville refused the buses Abbott offered to send released migrants to Washington D.C. Villalobos said he’s willing to ask the state for those bus rides.

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