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LIVE: President Donald Trump MASSIVE Rally from El Paso Texas

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In his State of the Union address on Feb. 5, the president said that El Paso went from having “extremely high rates of violent crime — one of the highest in the entire country” — to being “one of the safest cities” in the U.S. “immediately” after construction of a border barrier. That’s wrong on all counts.

These are the facts:

  • El Paso never had “one of the highest” rates of violent crime “in the entire country.” According to FBI crime data, the city had the third lowest violent crime rate among 35 U.S. cities with a population over 500,000 in 2005, 2006 and 2007 – before construction of a 57-mile-long fence started in mid-2008.
  • Violent crime did not drop in El Paso “immediately” after a “powerful barrier” was put up. In fact, the city’s violent crime rate increased 5.5 percent from fiscal year 2007 (the year before construction of the fence started) to 2010 (the year after construction was completed in mid-2009).

As of 2014, FBI data show El Paso still had the third lowest violent crime rate among 35 U.S. cities with a population over 500,000 — just as it did before the fence was built.



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As Trump Visits El Paso to Sell His Wall, Locals Refute His False Claims About Their City

Making another case for a U.S.-Mexico border wall in his State of the Union address, President Donald Trump painted El Paso, Texas, as an “extremely” violent city before the federal government erected a fence 10 years ago. But crime statistics show Trump is wrong.Trump is visiting El Paso on Monday for his first rally of 2019 – as he continues to try to rally support for the wall, but local leaders are calling the President out for falsely characterizing one of America’s safest big cities.

“The border city of El Paso, Texas, used to have extremely high rates of violent crime — one of the highest in the entire country, and considered one of our nation’s most dangerous cities,” Trump said last Tuesday during his annual address. “Now, immediately upon its building, with a powerful barrier in place, El Paso is one of the safest cities in our country. Simply put, walls work and walls save lives. So let’s work together, compromise, and reach a deal that will truly make America safe.”

“Like most of us, we were very surprised by Mr. Trump’s assertion that El Paso had been one of the most dangerous cities in the United States,” Barela tells TIME. “[W]e were astounded by the assertion that somehow a border fence magically transformed El Paso into one of the safest cities in the country. We’ve been safe for decades, long before a border fence was put up and I think I speak for most of us in the region, [we] were pretty surprised by the false assertion.”


Barela, a life-long Republican and former New Mexico assistant attorney general, says that everyone in El Paso wants effective border security, but that a wall is not the answer.

“We all desire border security, it’s a bipartisan goal,” he said. “However border security is a multidimensional, multilateral challenge. There is no silver bullet and a wall is the biggest waste of taxpayer dollars and will have the least effect. It is the most antiquated and most expensive solution to border security.”

El Paso’s Republican mayor, Dee Margo, also weighed in on the night of the State of the Union to dispute Trump’s characterization of his city tweeting, “El Paso was never one of the most dangerous cities in the U.S.”



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