MCALLEN, Texas (ValleyCentral) — McAllen Mayor Javier Villalobos and city manager Roel Rodriguez hosted 11 Republican members of Congress for a roundtable on immigration and Title 42.

Members of Congress also went on a boat ride with the Department of Public Safety to see the Trump-era border wall along the Rio Grande, said U.S. Rep. Buddy Carter, R-Georgia.

“Being at the wall and seeing the inconsistency there, with only 20 miles that’s been completed and the gaps in the wall, it really is discouraging,” Carter said.

Carter said the delegation observed how security is being enforced but believes taxpayer money is currently being wasted.

“Then we actually saw a stockyard that had excess materials leftover $300 million worth of materials just rusting and going to waste,” Carter said.

The visit came as a part of calls from Mayor Villalobos to reform immigration law in anticipation of the public health mandate, Title 42’s, end. It allows U.S. Border Patrol agents and U.S. Customs and Border Protection officers to immediately expel migrants from the U.S. without giving them a chance to request asylum to stop the cross-border spread of COVID-19. 

“If they could pass some sort of immigration reform — we always talk about, for example, the ‘Dreamers’ — if both parties are supposedly in favor of it, then take care of it,” said Villalobos. “Set up different policies as far as asylum, because if the policies say right now answer one or two questions you’re in, I don’t think that’s proper.”

Villalobos added he welcomes any party representative to visit the border to learn about how immigration impacts the Rio Grande Valley.

Meanwhile, Carter said though his state is farther away from the border, they still feel the impacts of immigration.

“These people are just passing through, and the drugs are just passing through, this is a big problem and it’s impacting all of our cities and all of our states,” said Carter. “It’s making every state a border state.”