Agriculture Commissioner Todd Staples says violence along the Texas/Mexico border has become a national security issue.
"This is a photograph of a ranch truck that was riddled by bullets just this past weekend while traveling on private property in South Texas just 26 miles from our border. Thank God the ranch foreman is alive and well today."
Commissioner Staples says drug cartels are using private property in Texas as their own, even as federal officials have been saying the border is safe.
"And we do not need Washington officials telling us that our border is safer than it's ever been when we have documented cases of our farmers and ranchers being chased off their own property."
Staples says criminals crossing the border don't even try to hide their illegal activity — they out-gun citizens and outnumber law enforcement personnel. State Representative Aaron Pena of Edinburg says South Texas business is impeded because of the cartel violence.
"As the commissioner has highlighted, it is costing increased amounts of concern for security for those people who farm and ranch along the border. And so this is real. The responses, unfortunately, are going to have to be made here in Texas because our federal government has utterly failed to do its job."
Commissioner Staples and State Representative Pena are asking for increased federal assistance to protect Texans — and the nation's food supply — from increasingly violent Mexican drug cartels.