Gov. Kristi Noem: Border Patrol is 'overwhelmed,' immigration crisis will get 'much, much worse'

Law enforcement needs more manpower and President Biden must finish the border wall, officer says

Border Patrol is "overwhelmed," and the immigration crisis is going to get "much, much worse" at the southern border, Gov. Kristi Noem told Fox News in an exclusive video.

"Everyone down here is clear that this is just the beginning," the South Dakota Republican said, fresh from a visit with the 50 National Guardsmen she deployed at the request of Texas Gov. Greg Abbott. "They're anticipating that it's going to get much, much worse."

"And frankly, Border Patrol was pretty candid today in how overwhelmed they are and that they don't know what they would do if our National Guard wasn't here," Noem continued. She also said that most drugs in her state are entering through the southern border.

A few miles to the west of the checkpoint Noem visited, Penitas Police Officer Oscar Barron patrols a three-mile section of the wall that has a large gap within sight of the Rio Grande.

"Any kind of help is welcome out here in this area," Barron told Fox News. "It’s a well-known hot area. It’s one of the most highly trafficked areas in Texas, I believe in the whole country."

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He said citizens are constantly reporting migrants on their property.

"They’re hiding in vehicles, they're hiding in parts of their property, they’re entering into the residence," Barron told Fox News. "You name it, it happens."

Barron said law enforcement needs more manpower and that President Biden must finish the border wall. 

The Rio Grande Valley sees more apprehensions than any other sector on the southwest border – 59,380 in June, according to Customs and Border Protection. Encounters in the Rio Grande Valley are up 461% compared to last year.

In accordance with a new policy Abbott implemented, the Texas Department of Public Safety said illegal immigrants caught coming across the border will be arrested for criminal trespass and criminal mischief. 

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"It’s no longer going to be catch and release," DPS Lt. Chris Olivarez said. "As far as the state is concerned, we are taking action."

"We're seeing drug trafficking, stash houses, an uptick in drugs that are being smuggled into the state and also into the U.S.," Olivarez said.

DPS has provided "a thousand assets" to the border, from the Rio Grande Valley to El Paso, Olivarez told Fox News.

Olivarez said Biden needs to issue effective policy changes and that the president needs to visit the border.

"You’ve got to come down and visit with law enforcement, visit with Border Patrol and see what they're seeing day in and day out and come together and get solutions," Olivarez told Fox News. "That's what Gov. Abbot has been doing."

"The state of Texas is stepping forward because we're finding solutions to this problem, and we're trying to make an impact as much as we can by helping our federal partners," he continued.

Noem said the crisis at the border directly impacts her state.

"The vast majority of our drugs in South Dakota come across this border," Noem told Fox News. "The human trafficking that we see in South Dakota and throughout the Midwest is coming across this border."

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"So, not only for me, is it a national security issue, it's also very real on our streets in South Dakota, because of the drugs and the trafficking that we have to deal with on a basis there in the state," she continued.  

Noem said she will decide in the next few days whether to send additional National Guardsmen to the border.