Last Tuesday night’s State of the Union address, given by President Donald Trump, was predictably filled with many misrepresentations and falsehoods which all seemed to support and even push the Trump administration’s greatest desire: the border wall. But one Texas city referenced that night is fed up with the repeated claim that barrier walls “immediately” saved that them from being one of the nation’s most dangerous cities.
“The border city of El Paso, Texas, used to have extremely high rates of violent crime — one of the highest in the country, and considered one of our nation’s most dangerous cities. Now, with a powerful barrier in place, El Paso is one of our safest cities.”President Donald Trump
El Paso’s local officials, including Sheriff Richard Wiles, take issue with Trump’s claims because according to FBI crime data analyzed by The El Paso Times, the crime rate in the city had started to decline even before the construction on the border wall began. Wiles explained further in a statementto NBC News.
“The facts are clear. While it is true that El Paso is one of the safest cities in the nation, it has never been … considered one of our nation’s most dangerous cities… And, El Paso was a safe city long before any wall was built. President Trump continues to give a false narrative about a great city that truly represents what this great nation is all about.”El Paso Sheriff Richard Wiles
Peter Svarzbein, one of El Paso’s eight district representatives, believes Trump’s narrative of his city is not only false but also damaging to the economy at a key time for growth and development in communities and business desiring to attract professionals and students alike. Svarzbein said,
“What he’s saying and doing is extremely insulting.’.
“You constantly have people from outside of this city and this region that don’t understand those dynamics… They don’t understand that the border is a blessing… I really wish this president would come here to see how these two cities thrive with each other, not in spite of but because of our relationships.”
El Paso district representative Peter Svarzbein
Amid all this controversy, Trump has announced that he will hold his first rally of 2019 in El Paso, a move not unnoticed by the Texas Democrats. El Paso is also home to former Rep. Beto O’Rourke (D-Texas), the Democratic Party’s 2018 Senate nominee in Texas. O’Rourke, a rising star in the Democratic party and potential 2020 presidential candidate, has announced that he will headline a counter-rally in El Paso the same night as the Trump rally and he will take the stage at 7pm, not coincidentally, the same time as Mr. Trump.