Trump's Bogus El Paso Claim

Leroy Wright
February 12, 2019

Beto O'Rourke, the former Democratic congressman considering a White House run, and President Donald Trump will hold dueling rallies in El Paso, Texas, on Monday over the U.S. -Mexico border and the president's push for a wall.

Monday, Trump heads to El Paso, where he won 25.7% of the 2016 vote and enraged everyone in a SOTU speech falsely declaring it a hell-hole of crime - a reality officials say only exists in "Sicario", given they boast one of the lowest crime rates of any big city.

El Paso County lawmakers passed a resolution ahead of Trump's visit, saying the city's residents are "disillusioned by [the president's] lies regarding the border and our community".

On the other side of the debate, Trump's campaign put out a video highlighting the need for a wall and featuring El Paso residents.

Trump's comments about El Paso have already prompted multiple fact checks on his claims.

El Paso's Republican mayor, Dee Margo, said the city had been safe for years before the wall was built. The consensus? He's incorrect.

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"The country will be watching, and it falls on all of us to tell the true story about the border", O'Rourke said Sunday on Twitter. As proof, he cited the noticeable drop in crime after the barrier was built.

But as the El Paso Times pointed out, the crime data has not backed this up.

El Paso never had "one of the highest" rates of violent crime "in the entire country". More than 6,500 violent crimes were recorded that year, the newspaper reported.

A standoff between the president and Democrats in Congress over Trump's demand for $5.7 billion for border wall construction led to an unprecedented 35-day partial federal government shutdown from just before Christmas until late last month. Construction of the wall in El Paso finished in 2008.

"Monday we will welcome the president to one of the safest cities in the United States", O'Rourke wrote.

In a tweet responding to the speech, Margo said the fencing had "impacted illegal immigration and curbed criminal activity" but was not the "sole deterrent". The rally will begin with new El Paso representative Veronica Escobar speaking at the rally, then the group will march to Chalio Acosta Park.

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