In an interview with Chris Salcedo on The Salcedo Storm Podcast, U.S. Sen. Ted Cruz (R-TX) said he expects the border crisis to turn the traditionally Democrat South Texas into a Republican stronghold.

The invasion at Texas’ southern border worsened dramatically in 2022, with this fiscal year on track to break the U.S. Customs and Border Patrol (CBP) record for encounters with illegal aliens. Of the more than 1.7 million illegal border crossers CBP encountered this year, 50 were in the U.S. Terrorist Screening Database, compared to 15 terrorists apprehended during the 2021 fiscal year.

Cruz described the southern border as “an absolute disaster” and called out the region’s Democrat officials for failing to address the crisis. He also highlighted the massive number of children crossing the southern border alone. In June 2022, CBP encountered 15,271 unaccompanied minors, nearly 10 percent of the month’s total.

“I sat down at a roundtable with law enforcement, with sheriffs, with elected Democrats, and one after the other, they described the horrific consequences,” said Cruz. “The hospitals are all full. The schools are overflowing. The jails are overflowing. They’re seeing infectious disease spreading. They’re encountering children, thousands upon thousands of children, horribly assaulted by the cartels and the human traffickers.”

Texans living along the border face dangerous encounters with human smugglers and witness firsthand the atrocities committed along the border. Cruz drew attention to the potentially deadly consequences illegal migrants face when crossing the southern border.

“I sat down with local ranchers and farmers, who showed me picture after picture of dead bodies of people abandoned by the cartels who’ve died on their property. … They’re encountering women who have been violently raped by these vicious cartels,” said Cruz. “Nobody who sees this firsthand can defend it, because it is indefensible.”

Cruz believes the worsening border crisis will push South Texas—an area that is traditionally Democrat—to elect conservatives.

Earlier this year, Rio Grande Valley voters selected a Republican for the first time in 150 years when Mayra Flores defeated Democrat Dan Sanchez in a special election for Texas’ 34th Congressional District. Flores is married to a Border Patrol agent and campaigned on securing the southern border.

Two more Republican women are vying for congressional seats in the Rio Grande Valley. Cassy Garcia is up against Democrat U.S Rep. Henry Cuellar, and Monica De La Cruz faces Michelle Vallejo in the November general election. Cruz believes Garcia and De La Cruz can defeat their Democrat challengers in the November elections and predicts a sweeping victory for Texas Republicans.

“We’re going to see … a red wave across the country, but South Texas is going to be profound,” said Cruz. “There are three congressional seats. I believe we will win all three … and all three of the candidates are Hispanic women: Mayra Flores already won a special election down there, Cassy Garcia, and Monica De La Cruz. I think we’re on the verge of a generational shift.”

The Salcedo Storm Podcast is coming to Texas Scorecard on August 15.

Katy Marshall

Katy graduated from Tarleton State University in 2021 after majoring in history and minoring in political science.