Donald Trump will be heading to El Paso, Texas, soon where he’ll host a rally for his supporters, and during which he’s expected to push again for funding for his border wall. However, not everyone in El Paso, including the mayor and several city leaders, is glad to have the president and his agenda come to town, the New York Times reports.
Trump has used El Paso as a talking point in his push for a border wall. Specifically, he pointed to the crime rate in the Texas city, which he claimed was exceptionally high until the construction of a border fence physically separated the city from Mexico, in his State of the Union address.
“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, 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.”
In fact, however, as Politifact reports, Trump got his facts wrong. Crime in El Paso was never particularly high and indeed has traditionally been lower than similar major American cities of its size for decades. What’s more, crime actually went up in the city, not down, when the border fence was constructed.
— ABC News (@ABC) February 11, 2019
El Paso Mayor Dee Margo, a Republican, says via the Hill that he will “absolutely call out” Trump for making false claims about his city.
He’s not the only El Paso leader asking Trump not to speak for his city. Businessman Jon Barela, described by the Times as a “lifelong Republican,” says that spending money on a border wall is a fool’s game, especially considering the tight economic relationship between the U.S. and Mexico.
“Mexico is an economic and strategic ally of the United States, and an antiquated effort to place a barrier between us just won’t work.”
Another El Paso leader not welcoming Trump to town is former Senate Candidate Beto O’Rourke. As Trump is giving his rally, O’Rourke will be less than a mile away hosting a counter-rally of his own. He predicts that Trump will use the occasion to “spread lies” about the border wall and the supposed dangers posed by immigrants.
At least some in El Paso are glad to have Trump come to town, however. As Huffington Post reports, a number of Trump supporters, carrying American flags and sporting MAGA hats, formed a metaphorical “human wall” along the border. Protester Anthony Aguero said they’re doing so to call attention to the fact that there isn’t a wall there.