North Dakota Officials Sound Alarm on Border Crisis Impact

North Dakota officials voiced urgent concerns Wednesday about the escalating border crisis, highlighting increased crime, drug activity, and homelessness impacting northern border communities as migrant crossings rise.

“We have undocumented individuals crossing into farmers’ fields, causing crop damage. With insufficient border staffing, residents must report sightings, diverting police resources from our small towns,” said Rebecca Davis, Executive Director of the Walhalla Chamber of Commerce, on “Fox & Friends First” before her testimony at a House field hearing.

Since 2023, North Dakota has experienced a 7% rise in violent crime, a 29% increase in homelessness, and a 75% spike in drug overdose deaths since 2019, according to Fox News.

Davis explained that reduced hours at the Walhalla Port of Entry have disrupted trade and travel with Canada, forcing people to travel 39 miles to the nearest 24-hour port of entry.

Davis was one of four witnesses at the House Judiciary Subcommittee on Immigration Integrity, Security, and Enforcement hearing titled “The Biden Border Crisis: North Dakota Perspectives.”

“The lack of sufficient border staff and reduced operating hours have led to severe humanitarian impacts,” Davis told lawmakers, adding that migrant families have been found deceased and are being misled that crossing the northern border is easier than the southern one.

Rep. Mike Kelly (R-PA) emphasized that the border crisis is an “American issue” needing focused policy solutions. “The American people need to realize they are losing the greatest nation ever, and it’s happening on our watch,” Kelly stated.

North Dakota Attorney General Drew Wrigley testified that conditions have deteriorated in recent years, attributing the decline to the Biden administration’s failure to secure the border. “Our communities are at risk,” Wrigley said.

Wrigley and Cass County Sheriff Jesse Jahner cautioned that North Dakota is becoming a target for drugs trafficked from Mexico, especially fentanyl.

Jahner noted that jails are overcrowded due to issues like addiction, mental health, and homelessness. He also mentioned that his county’s location on two major highways makes it an attractive route for narcotic trafficking. “We need to either close the borders or establish policies that prioritize our citizens,” he said.

Jahner shared that past attempts to get support from Border Patrol for illegal crossings were met with resource shortages. Roger Hutchinson, sheriff of Renville County on the U.S.-Canada border, voiced similar concerns, warning that inadequate resources leave the border “wide open” to national security threats as unvetted migrants enter the U.S.

Hutchinson testified that law enforcement is dealing with calls about dead bodies, high-speed chases, property damage, and humanitarian rescues due to border crossings.

In March, 22 House Republicans wrote to Homeland Security Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas expressing “serious concern” over the “unprecedented surge in apprehensions” along the northern border, blaming the crisis on the Biden administration.

In the 2023 fiscal year, Border Patrol agents apprehended 10,021 individuals crossing illegally, including 2,229 apprehensions in the first four months alone. In the first four months of the 2024 fiscal year, Border Patrol has already apprehended 4,772 individuals along the northern border, according to Kelly’s office.

The letter elaborated on Kelly’s testimony before the House Judiciary Committee in November, which highlighted a worrying number of suspects on the terror watchlist crossing into the U.S. via the northern border.