He noted that in his county, fences have had to be repaired and some ranchers in the area have had to hire private security “to defend their own property rights.”
“Us Americans, in this part of Texas, we don’t have the same rights as other people do,” Smith told host Steve Doocy. “We can’t enjoy our property and go in our backyards anymore at night. It’s a tragedy.”
Smith added that people living in his county “don’t even feel safe during the day.”
“If you don’t have a gun with you, you’re taking a chance,” he said. “And it’s sad that that’s the reality we live in today.”
Smith slammed President Biden’s immigration policies on Monday, blaming the president’s actions on the surge in costs and safety concerns ranchers in the area now face.
President Biden scrapped a number of his predecessor’s immigration policies, which included wall construction and having asylum seekers remain in Mexico instead of in the U.S. while they wait for their cases to be heard. The moves have led to a record surge in migrants, including unaccompanied minors, that has strained capacity at immigration facilities.
“The cartels are in absolute control of both sides of the border right now,” Smith argued on Monday. “We have no control of the border. There is no border.”
Smith has said he’s prosecuting an uptick of cases of trespassing by illegal immigrants trying to evade Border Patrol and cross into the United States on private property in Texas.
He told Doocy on Monday that landowners have been responsible for coverings the costs of the damage.
He noted that insurance companies have not been reimbursing landowners if an illegal immigrant drives a stolen vehicle through their properties.
“If it’s a stolen vehicle that goes through the property their vehicle insurance isn’t going to pay for it and ours won’t either so the landowners are stuck with paying for this,” Smith said.
He added that ranchers are liable to cover the cost when livestock escape due to damaged fences and get hit by cars.
However, some relief may be on the way. Rep. August Pfluger, R-Texas, introduced bipartisan legislation in the House to reimburse farmers and ranchers on the frontlines of the border crisis for the vandalism and damage they are enduring.
The legislation would reprogram $ 300 million from unused coronavirus rescue funds and to pay farmers for damages from illegal immigration, including livestock loss, crop loss and damage, perimeter fence replacements, damages to physical structures and property loss.
“We don’t need any new laws,” Smith said. “We just need a president that actually enforces the laws on the books.”
“It’s a sad day in American history where we have to force our president to act and enforce the laws on the books,” he continued.
A White House spokesperson did not immediately respond to Fox News’ request for comment.
Fox News’ Marisa Schultz contributed to this report.