Dan Sanchez, a Democrat from Texas who is running in a special election for a seat in the United States House of Representatives, asserted that “there is no violence” along the United States’ southern border. Sanchez is on the ballot for the 34th Congressional District, with the election date set for Tuesday, June 14.

Sanchez made his statements during a discussion about gun control hosted by Futuro RGV. The candidate shared his perspective on what it was like to grow up near the border in Los Indios, Texas.

“There’s no violence along the river here,” he said. “We’re not having people attacked here. I think it’s used as political propaganda in D.C. to talk about our border. I do believe we need secure borders. We need to have a secure border, but the way to do it is talk to our local Border Patrol and get their input and see what we need to give them in terms of the ability to do their job.”

“I grew up in Los Indios, Texas,” he continued. “I could walk from my backyard to the river. We had open land without a wall, and I never once felt unsafe. My parents’ property has now been traversed by the wall.”

“But as far as being secure,” he said, “I never felt the need to have a gun to protect myself playing in the backyard as a child. My parents never had the thought of not allowing us to go back and fish in the canal or go to a wooded area and build forts, which is what we did when we were young. And we were within probably 1,000 yards of the river.”

In contrast, other residents of South Texas have expressed fear and frustration of unlawful migration, human smuggling, and organized crime that takes place.

“We’ve had incidents in the last few years, but this is the worst I’ve ever seen it,” Sandra Carroll told The Washington Post. “Biden gets in, and suddenly the floodgates open. We are scared. This is not the same thing.”

Carroll is a longtime resident of Cotulla, a town that is some 60 miles from the border but located near a Border Patrol checkpoint that smugglers try to avoid. Carroll said she has had to repair costly fencing ripped out by vehicles cutting through her family’s ranch more often than she used to.

“Every day, you lose a little more compassion and patience,” said Carroll. “There’s a hate that grows when you are sick of the damage and of the government taking care of [unlawful migrants] and not their own citizens.”

“I’ve never really been scared until now,” fellow Cotulla resident Chaney McCollum, 17, said during a meeting with about a dozen ranchers. She was recalling a moment she feared she was being followed and in imminent danger of being carjacked.

“I should not have to be put in a situation where I can’t leave my house. Normal people out here don’t lock their barns. Now, we do,” McCollum said.

Last week, Border Patrol Chief Raul Ortiz announced that in just three days, agents had prevented 10 sexual offenders, three members of gangs, one “assassination suspect,” and one fugitive wanted for murder from entering the country. In addition, law enforcement officers had managed to seize 131 pounds of fentanyl, 26 pounds of heroin, and 13 pounds of methamphetamine.

Since the beginning of 2022, United States Customs and Border Protection has reported a total of 1,219,920 Border Patrol encounters with unlawful migrants.

The Department of Homeland Security projects that once Title 42 has run its course, the daily number of people unlawfully crossing the border could reach as high as 18,000.

In the meantime, a group of migrants currently traveling through Mexico in the direction of the United States has the potential to grow into the largest to ever arrive at the southern border. The current group comprises close to 12,000 migrants but is expected to increase to approximately 15,000.