As the border crisis continues, a Texas Department of Public Safety officer is calling on Texans to keep their eyes on the southern border.

In an interview with KDFW, Lt. Christopher Olivarez said law enforcement experiences between 5,000 and 6,000 illegal alien encounters a day along the border—including with potentially violent gunmen.

“Armed gunmen has been something that is starting to become more common, even armor piercing rounds,” said Olivarez. “Most recently, we actually encountered two gunmen working with Border Patrol and the Texas game wardens. And they were actually in possession of an M-4 rifle, which is a military grade rifle and also an AK-47. And they had armor piercing rounds, rounds that can penetrate our bulletproof vests.”

According to recent numbers released by U.S. Customs and Border Protection, 183,503 illegal aliens were encountered at the border in July. The number of encounters has risen by almost 40,000 from June, which saw 144,566 encounters.

When asked how citizens should view this data point, Olivarez said that although the number of encounters is lower than in the past, people “can’t be deceived because we still have a serious border situation with the fact that we have so many people that are still crossing between the ports of entry.”

Last month, Gov. Greg Abbott installed buoy barriers to take action where the Biden administration has lagged and “deter illegal border crossings between ports of entry.” The buoys have led to lawsuits by a local business owner and the Department of Justice, claiming they will cause irreparable harm.

Olivarez reported that the buoy barriers effectively prevented illegal aliens from crossing the southern border. He also refuted U.S. Rep. Joaquin Castro’s claim that a “chainsaw type device” was placed between the buoys. Olivarez explained,

This is an anti-step device. It’s not sharpened. It’s not meant to puncture the skin. Does it cause any harm? No, again, another allegation that’s completely false. But of course, we back it up with evidence that we have. And of course, the only way you’re going to know that, to see that firsthand, seeing how it operates, looking at the device and actually speaking to officials that actually oversee the project, which would be DPS.

Olivarez said Texas Gov. Greg Abbott’s press conference in Eagle Pass last week with four other governors was “beneficial.” Olivarez called on Democrat governors to visit the border and see the crisis for themselves.

“Well, you know, I’ve always said that you have to visit the border,” said Olivarez. “You have to see it firsthand and talk to law enforcement, talk to those individuals that are at the front lines every single day, but also spend a good amount of time at the border. You can’t just pass through, do a photo op and then leave.”

Katy Marshall

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