Earlier this month I traveled to our southern border with a group of 24 Indiana sheriffs.

What I saw was a crisis spilling out into every state and threatening our national security.

I first went to the border in 2021, where I saw the chaos caused by President Joe Biden’s policies firsthand.

I saw hundreds of migrants sheltered under an underpass and in overflowing detention centers because Border Patrol simply didn’t have the resources to deal with such an influx. I heard human smugglers yelling at officers from across the Rio Grande at night.

The scale of the humanitarian crisis was vast, and Border Patrol officials were candid with me: Things had been working a few short months earlier, before Biden reversed the Trump administration policies that were working and sent a message to the world saying, “Come on over.”

Back then, only two years ago, there were 100,000 people trying to cross the southern border every month.

Those numbers are up 40% now, with 2.4 million encounters on the southern border and 600,000 illegal “gotaways” now in our country. There are almost as many “gotaways” per month now as there were arrests back then.

“Gotaways” are the people who get through our border illegally and spread out around the United States.

So far this year, the Border Patrol has arrested 35,433 illegal immigrants with criminal convictions or outstanding warrants and 598 known gang members. It raises the question how many of the “gotaway” category would also fit that description.

On the drive from San Antonio to Eagle Pass, we passed a community that recently saw how the crisis on our border can spill into other communities.

In a small town called Batesville, Texas, two Americans were killed when a vehicle full of illegal migrants crashed into their car during a police chase. Eight people were killed in the crash.

Our southern border is far past its breaking point. As local law enforcement and Border Patrol officers told me, they simply don’t have the staff to enforce the law.

They’re in “triage,” just trying to keep above water — in some cases, literally. During this trip, a Florida sheriff had to jump into the water during a boat tour to save an immigrant from drowning.

One of the reasons I went to the border is because the national security threat has grown more dire.

Director Christopher Wray recently confirmed that the FBI is very concerned with the threat of terrorists coming across our southern border. At the time of this writing, 169 people on the terrorist watchlist have been apprehended trying to enter our country at the southern border.

The question that should worry every American: How many got away?

If we apply the same ratio of arrests to gotaways, even discounting minors and families, the results are disturbing. All it takes is one.

In Eagle Pass I spoke with Texas border czar Mike Banks, a retired Border Patrol agent appointed by Gov. Greg Abbott to deter illegal immigrants from Texas’ border with Mexico.

He told me that foreign nationals from 169 countries have come across the border in the past year.

Our southern border problem is not confined to immigrants from Mexico, or even from Central America. Nearly every country on Earth has people illegally entering our country through the southern border.

This crisis is not confined to our border communities. Every U.S. state is a border state.

Deadly fentanyl and other narcotics pour into our communities through our southern border, both through legal ports of entry and smuggled by the cartels with illegal immigrants.

This problem can’t be ignored.

In 2021, Border Patrol agents told me that President Donald Trump’s wall was the biggest help to them because they could concentrate their forces on other areas. Right now they are stretched thin and overrun. Building a wall remains the best step we can take to secure our southern border.

Republicans in Congress have to stand strong on border security as our top priority.

Our communities, our national security and our country are at stake.