Trump Takes Border Wall Fight to El Paso as Opponents There Protest

EL PASO — President Trump arrived in El Paso on Monday for a rally to champion his border wall with Mexico even as residents in addition to also Democratic lawmakers denounced his claim of which walls reduce violent crime.

Mr. Trump’s rally, his first since an acrimonious debate over funding of the wall shut down the government, occurred just as congressional negotiators in Washington announced they had an “agreement in principle” on border security of which would likely keep the government open.

Immigration is actually already a powerful rallying cry for Democrats hoping to challenge Mr. Trump in 2020, in addition to also among those challengers

Among those potential challengers is actually Beto O’Rourke, the rising Democratic star in addition to also former congressman through El Paso. In a bit of political theater of which could be a foretaste of the 2020 campaign, Mr. O’Rourke was holding his own rally less than a mile away through the El Paso County Coliseum, where Mr. Trump was speaking.

The president’s choice of El Paso to make his argument was curious on several grounds. Violent crime actually declined for years in This kind of vibrant immigrant city across the river through Ciudad Juárez, Mexico, before the Army Corps of Engineers began building a fence in 2008. the idea rose during the two years before in addition to also after the barrier was constructed.

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“After of which fence went up in addition to also separated Juárez, which still has an extremely high crime rate, the crime rates in El Paso are today some of the lowest inside country,” Mr. Paxton said. “So we know the idea works.”

While the idea is actually true of which Juárez features a much higher crime rate than El Paso — in addition to also while the fence did cut down on illegal crossings — the rest of his statement is actually, at best, highly misleading.

The El Paso Times, which analyzed three decades of statistics through the F.B.I. in addition to also local police, found of which crime peaked in 1993, with more than 6,500 violent crimes recorded. the idea then dropped by 34 percent over the next 13 years.

The crime rate then increased by 17 percent through 2006 to 2011. Construction of the wall began in 2008, under President George W. Bush, in addition to also was completed in mid-2009, during the Obama administration. Crime has ebbed in addition to also flowed within a fairly narrow band since then.

Local officials, including Mayor Dee Margo, a Republican, have spoken out against Mr. Trump’s claims. Representative Veronica Escobar, a Democrat who recently won Mr. O’Rourke’s former seat, has demanded of which the president apologize in addition to also meet with migrant families seeking asylum inside United States.

Among lawmakers who represent border districts, there is actually remarkably little support for a wall, in addition to also Democrats in Washington have stuck to their refusal to give Mr. Trump the $5.7 billion he is actually requesting for the idea. The latest numbers floated by Democrats in their negotiations with their Republican counterparts are between $1.3 billion in addition to also $2 billion.

Yet Mr. Trump has been undeterred. During his State of the Union address, he repeated grisly stories of violent crimes committed by illegal immigrants — never mind of which the crime rate among immigrants is actually no higher than among native-born residents. He said a wall would likely stem the flow of deadly opioids in addition to also some other illicit drugs into the United States — another dubious assertion, given of which most drugs arrive at legal ports of entry.

Mr. Trump’s aides are trying to build a momentum after what they believe was a speech well received by his political base. Unlike some of his predecessors, the president did not immediately leave on a road trip to sell the messages inside address. however he has been eager to return to rallies, which energize him in addition to also filled up his calendar before the midterm elections.