Del Rio, Texas, is sweltering this time of year. On my recent trip to visit the Arkansas National Guardsmen stationed there, temperatures routinely exceeded 100 degrees by mid-morning.
And yet they still come: 145,000 illegal immigrants in June alone; enough fentanyl to stop every American's heart many times over; people, drugs, and money, moved by the cartels in a multinational, multibillion-dollar operation.
The Del Rio Sector, where our Guardsmen were serving, is at the heart of President Joe Biden's border crisis. I went to the border to meet with the nearly 100 Arkansas Guardsmen who had been stationed there since the beginning of July.
These heroes were out in the heat every day, fighting to keep our border secure. I received an update on their operations and had a chance to talk with the brave men and women defending our country from the cartel.
Arkansas' Guardsmen were there to assist the Texas National Guard, which is working desperately to control the border crisis while President Biden and federal leaders sit on their hands. Texas Gov. Greg Abbott asked for help and Arkansas answered the call, not just to assist our neighbor but to protect our own safety as well.
Arkansas is just hours from the border. As a major transportation and logistics state, our highways are a hotbed of cartel activities, bringing guns, money, and human trafficking victims into our communities. Already this year, Arkansas has seized more than 12 pounds of fentanyl, which is enough to kill 2.8 million people--nearly every man, woman, and child in our state.
Nationally, there have been 7 million illegal border entries since President Biden took office, including 1.4 million who managed to escape Border Patrol. Border agents seized more than 2,000 pounds of fentanyl and more than 9,000 pounds of meth just in June--representing only 5 to 10 percent of the total drug flow, according to officials.
It's one thing to read about the border crisis. It's another to see it firsthand, to hear from the men and women working so hard to protect our country from being completely overrun.
I heard from Border Patrol agents who manage facilities designed to hold 1,000 illegals--and are now packed with twice that number. I listened to local law enforcement recount pulling decapitated bodies out of the Rio Grande--the remains of those who crossed the cartels.
I personally watched dozens and dozens of illegal border crossers enter our country. These unvetted migrants come from as far as China, Iran, and Syria, and have included at least 140 people on the terror watch list this fiscal year alone.
T his didn't have to happen. When President Biden took office, our border was secure, the wall was going up, and our Border Patrol felt empowered to enforce our laws.
President Biden ripped that all up. In his first 100 days, he took more than 90 executive actions on immigration, including halting construction of the border wall and ending the "Remain in Mexico" policy which kept migrants outside the United States. He ended Title 42 this May, sunsetting a policy that allowed immigration officials to deport illegals quickly.
Democrats claim their policies are compassionate. I invite them to visit the border and see the chaos their "compassion" has caused: children dying in the desert, fentanyl pouring into our neighborhoods, overrun border towns and overworked border agents. This isn't compassion--it's cruelty.
I left the border with many emotions: sadness for the lives ruined by President Biden's neglect, anger at our federal leaders' inaction, fear for the future. But overriding all of that was a deep sense of gratitude and pride for our Arkansas Guardsmen. The Arkansas National Guard's motto is, "always ready, always there," and I saw the truth behind those words at the border.
It's time to close our border, stop the cartels, and end the flow of drugs and illegals into our country. If President Biden won't, Arkansas will continue to do our part to keep our people safe.
Sarah Huckabee Sanders is governor of Arkansas.