Politics: El Paso braces for Trump rally, as another border community deflects images of unsafe city - PressFrom - US
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PoliticsEl Paso braces for Trump rally, as another border community deflects images of unsafe city

17:40  11 february  2019
17:40  11 february  2019 Source:   usatoday.com

A border fence did not lower crime rates in El Paso. In fact, crime went up a bit.

A border fence did not lower crime rates in El Paso. In fact, crime went up a bit. During his State of the Union speech, President Trump tried to make the case for his border wall with wildly false claims about the Texas border city. President Donald Trump tried to make the case for his border wall Tuesday during his State of the Union address by repeating a lie about violent crime along the Texas-Mexico border. “The border city of El Paso, Texas, used to have extremely high rates of violent crime — one of the highest in the country, and [was] considered one of our nation’s most dangerous cities. Now, with a powerful barrier in place, El Paso is one of our safest cities,” Trump said.

One has been called the world’s most violent city . The other, the safest in its nation. Schoolchildren commute daily between the ‘binational’ cities of Juárez, Mexico and El Paso , Texas – but with Trump in office, will border divisions grow?

Trump said that El Paso is one of the most dangerous in the US, but O'Rourke, local politicians and law enforcement officials, and statistics The Trump campaign's announcement of the president's El Paso rally came just hours after Trump claimed in his State of the Union address that the city was one of

El Paso braces for Trump rally, as another border community deflects images of unsafe city© Provided by USA TODAY, a division of Gannett Satellite Information Network, Inc. Central American immigrants walk along the border fence after crossing the Rio Grande from Mexico on February 01, 2019 in El Paso, Texas. The migrants turned themselves in to U.S. Border Patrol agents, seeking political asylum. EL PASO – Lyda Ness-Garcia listened with stunned dismay last week as President Donald Trump said her hometown was “once considered one of our nation's most dangerous cities,” then announced a campaign rally here to draw support for his border wall and re-election next year.

On Monday, she and other activists will lead protestors in a counter rally to the president’s gathering that will include former congressman Beto O’Rourke, local leaders, taco trucks and teams of mariachis playing Bob Marley’s “Get Up, Stand Up.”

Trump announces campaign rally next week in El Paso, Texas

Trump announces campaign rally next week in El Paso, Texas President Donald Trump's re-election team says he'll hold his first campaign rally of the year next week in Texas. Trump plans to rally supporters on Monday at the county coliseum in El Paso. The president often cites El Paso in arguing his case for building a wall along the U.S.-Mexico border to deter illegal immigration and crime.

The construction of President Donald Trump 's border wall will begin in the El Paso neighborhood Please read the rules before joining the discussion. Border Patrol: Trump border wall construction “What we have seen in our country for a long time is a desire to portray communities like El Paso as unsafe places that need to be controlled and sealed off. How to get Trump rally tickets in El Paso .

Beto O'Rourke is not shying away from the spotlight as President Donald Trump prepares to hold a rally in the El Paso hometown of the former congressman and The events, which will feature music and other speakers, are intended to highlight El Paso 's strength as a binational community — and

Their message: El Paso is safe, vibrant and open for business.

“People are so eager to believe the worst of us in border towns," said Ness-Garcia, a family law attorney and founder of Women’s March El Paso. “We are proud El Pasoans. We will show America and the world who we really are.”

Once again, a border community along the Texas-Mexico border finds itself at the center of a divisive national debate over immigration and border security – and defending itself from perceptions of rampant criminality.

Last month, Trump traveled to McAllen, 800 miles southeast on the Texas border, to meet with officials from U.S. Customs and Border Protection amidst a government shutdown that centered on his demands for $5.7 billion to build a border wall. McAllen residents were quick to remind the world they live in a safe community with a relatively low violent crime rate, prompting one theater owner to display on his theater’s marquee: "WELCOME TO MCALLEN, 7TH SAFEST CITY IN AMERICA."

Beto O'Rourke to join march countering Trump's El Paso visit

Beto O'Rourke to join march countering Trump's El Paso visit Beto O'Rourke is set to counter President Donald Trump's visit to El Paso, Texas, on Monday by joining a one-mile march past Trump's rally and giving a speech across the street at about the same time the President plans to take the stage. As the former congressman from Texas weighs a bid for the 2020 Democratic presidential nomination -- he told Oprah Winfrey this week that he'll decide by the end of the month -- he is participating in a protest against Trump's push for a wall along the southern border. The march, organized by Women's March El Paso, is being billed as a "March for Truth: Stop the Wall, Stop the Lies.

“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 . Now, immediately upon its building, with a powerful barrier in place, El Paso is one of the safest cities in

Texas’ border city El Paso was safe before border fencing was built there, despite the president’s primetime false claim to the contrary. Crime in the city , where Trump plans to hold a campaign rally Monday night, had been falling since 1993, but a border fence wasn't completed until 2009.

On Monday, the president will speak in front of several thousand supporters at the El Paso County Coliseum, located a short stroll from the U.S.-Mexico border. As in his McAllen's visit, Trump’s trip to El Paso will be rife with political undertones: It’s a campaign event in a strongly Democratic county, the hometown of O’Rourke – considered a potential challenger to Trump in 2020 – and just four days before another partial government shutdown could begin.

A bipartisan group of lawmakers were negotiating ahead of Friday’s deadline, but on Sunday, those talks appeared to stall , setting up another face-off over funding.

Many here seethed at Trump’s characterization of El Paso during his State of the Union address last week, when he said the border city had “extremely high rates of violent crime” until a border fence was installed. The peak of violent crime in El Paso – at about 6,500 violent crimes per year – was recorded in 1993, well before the fence was erected in 2008, and has fallen steadily since, according to an analysis by the El Paso Times.

Trump Supporters Form Human Chain at Mexican Border

Trump Supporters Form Human Chain at Mexican Border The activists appeared to be making their own symbolic barrier where the border fence currently finishes. require(["medianetNativeAdOnArticle"], function (medianetNativeAdOnArticle) { medianetNativeAdOnArticle.getMedianetNativeAds(true); }); They have said their principal goal is to call for further construction of a border barrier at the frontier with Mexico. Their eye-catching demonstration coincides with an upcoming Trump rally in El Paso, Texas, the first of 2019. The Washington Post reported that a counter demonstration will be held in the border city on Monday.

City leaders have denounced Trump 's comments on El Paso ahead of his visit Monday. It's unclear how many people will turn out at both the rally and The Women's March of El Paso , Unity Campaign, El Paso County Democratic Party, ACLU Border Rights Center, Borderland Immigration Council

El Pasoans take to Twitter to defend the city after President Trump said El Paso was unsafe before the border fence went up in his State of the Union. Trish Long, El Paso Times.

But even at its violent peak, El Paso recorded lower levels of violent crime than comparably-sized cities, such as the 22,000 violent crimes reported by the Baltimore City Police Department and 16,600 reported by police in Washington, D.C., the same year, according to the Times.

The president’s remarks felt like another dagger aimed at border communities who have lived in harmony with their Mexican neighbors for generations, said state Sen. José Rodriguez, whose district represents El Paso.

Besides the misleading perception that danger lurks in El Paso at the hands of immigrants, such comments erode trust built up over the years between local law enforcement and immigrant communities, said Rodriguez, who spent 20 years as the county’s top prosecutor.

El Paso braces for Trump rally, as another border community deflects images of unsafe city© Provided by USA TODAY, a division of Gannett Satellite Information Network, Inc. As President Donald Trump prepares to visit this Texas border town, the marquee at the Cine El Rey, a 1940s-era theater-turned-music-venue, touts the fact that McAllen is ranked as one of the safest cities in the country.

That cooperation helped law enforcement break up migrant smuggling rings, drive out gangs and significantly lower crime, he said.

El Paso County passes resolution: 'Disillusioned by President Trump’s lies'

El Paso County passes resolution: 'Disillusioned by President Trump’s lies' Officials in El Paso County, Texas, passed a resolution Monday, just hours before President Trump was set to hold a campaign rally in the area, pushing back on the president's remarks about the situation at the border. MSNBC correspondent Garrett Haake posted a photo of the resolution, which states that the county is "disillusioned by President Trump's lies regarding the border and our community." "Though it is difficult to welcome him to El Paso while he continues to proliferate such untruths, we do welcome him to meet with local officials to become properly informed about our great and safe region," the resolution says.

The Trump rally at the El Paso County Coliseum will come only four days before the possibility of either another government shutdown or a declaration of O’Rourke, fresh off an interview with Oprah, said he sees Trump ’s campaign rally as an opportunity for the city to take control of the narrative.

El Paso was a part of the nationwide Families Belong Together rally against Trump 's 'zero tolerance' for immigrants fleeing to the U.S.-Mexico border . Please read the rules before joining the discussion. El Paso 's Families Belong Together rally draws hundreds against Trump immigration policies.

“What I fear is that, with the kinds of statements Trump makes, people will conflate violence with Mexico,” Rodriguez said. “El Paso is a very safe community. It’s just simply outrageous people like President Trump will depict us as living in a dangerous area.”

Falling crime stats aside, El Paso is struggling with a growing immigration crisis. The number of immigrant families apprehended by the Border Patrol’s El Paso Sector has soared in recent years, from 562 in fiscal year 2014 to 8,609 in fiscal year 2017 and 12,312 last fiscal year. Over Christmas, hundreds of immigrants released from federal immigration custody were dropped off at downtown bus shelters, sending churches and activist groups scrambling to assist them.

Adolpho Telles, chairman of El Paso County Republican Party, said he feels the area has become safer since federal authorities erected the border fence in El Paso, limiting the streams of migrants who were crossing into the community.

Shortly after Trump’s State of the Union, Telles received a request from the president’s campaign for 150 volunteers to help at the rally, which he secured within two days, he said.

In McAllen last month, more than 100 Trump supporters lined a busy street near the airport in a well-organized rally to welcome the president. Telles said he doesn't expect a similar pro-Trump rally to materialize in El Paso, but he hoped both sides of the divisive debate could respect the other on Monday.

Beto O'Rourke speaks at competing "March for Truth" as Trump holds Texas rally

Beto O'Rourke speaks at competing O'Rourke said marchers would meet "lies and hate with the truth and vision of the future from the U.S-Mexico border"

The rally comes as O’Rourke nears a decision on whether to join the Democratic race to challenge Trump in 2020 following a closer-than-expected loss “Monday we will welcome the president to one of the safest cities in the United States,” O’Rourke wrote. “Safe not because of walls, and not in spite

The rally is scheduled for Monday night at the El Paso County Coliseum. It will be Trump ’s first in the city , but his seventh in Texas. His last stop in the “President Trump looks forward to visiting with the patriots of Texas who are on the front lines of the struggle against open border Democrats who allow

“I hope El Paso gives the president an extremely El Paso-friendly welcome,” he said. “I hope the president spends more time talking about unity in the nation and I hope we as a city could show that unity.”

Ness-Garcia, the march organizer, said she and others are dismayed that El Paso has been the site for controversial federal immigration practices. The Trump administration launched a pilot program here for family separations before expanding the program, she said. The policy drew fierce criticism and was ultimately dropped, though it remains unclear how many children were separated from the families and are still being separated.

And the Tornillo faciltiy, a tent city housing migrant youth that also later closed under withering criticism, was operated nearby.

"El Paso, unfortunately, has been the testing grounds for some of the most inhumane policies of this administration," Ness-Garcia said. "Yes, there's a lot of anger, but there's allo a lot of positivity. That's what we want to focus on: being peaceful and passionate."

Perception is important in a place like El Paso, the nation's 10th largest exporter and whose retail stores rely heavily on shoppers crossing over from Mexico.

Local leaders are continuously fighting negative portrayals of El Paso, not just arising from Washington but from Hollywood, as well, said Jon Barela, chief executive of the Borderplex Alliance, an El-Paso-based economic development group.

Movies, like Oscar-nominated "Sicario," have portrayed El Paso as struggling to rebuff the carnage spilling over from cartel violence across the border in Ciudad Juarez, Mexico.

Trump's comments added to that perception.

“That’s the image we have to fight every single day, and it’s a false image of our area," Barela said.

Follow Jervis on Twitter: @MrRJervis.

Contributing: Alan Gomez and Associated Press

This article originally appeared on USA TODAY: El Paso braces for Trump rally, as another border community deflects images of unsafe city

O'Rourke says he'd 'absolutely' take down border wall near El Paso if he could.
Former Rep. Beto O'Rourke (D-Texas) said Thursday he would "absolutely" take down the border wall in El Paso, Texas, arguing that the structure has not made the city demonstrably safer. MSNBC host Chris Hayes posed a question from Rep. Dan Crenshaw about whether O'Rourke would get rid of the wall if he could "snap your fingers" and make it happen. "Yes. Absolutely. I'd take the wall down," O'Rourke said on "All In" during an interv iew near the border on Thursday. O'Rourke, who represented El Paso in Congress for three terms, added that he believes city residents would pass a referendum to remove the wall if it were put up for a vote.

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