EL PASO — President Trump is to get there right here on Monday for a rally to champion his border wall with Mexico even as a demonstration is prepared by offended people and Democratic lawmakers who denounce his claim that walls minimize violent criminal offense.
Mr. Trump’s rally, his to start with because an acrimonious discussion about funding of the wall shut down the federal government, comes as negotiations in Washington to head off an additional shutdown are in hazard of collapse. His words could inflame the national debate around immigration, which is by now a effective rallying cry for Democrats hoping to problem Mr. Trump in 2020.
Amid these possible challengers is Beto O’Rourke, the growing Democratic star and former congressman from El Paso. In a little bit of political theater that could be a foretaste of the 2020 campaign, Mr. O’Rourke will communicate at a rally much less than a mile absent from the El Paso County Coliseum, the place Mr. Trump is scheduled to handle six,000 supporters.
The president’s selection of El Paso to make his argument is curious on several grounds. Violent criminal offense basically declined for many years in this vivid immigrant town across the river from Ciudad Juárez, Mexico, prior to the Military Corps of Engineers started developing a fence in 2008. It rose during the two a long time prior to and following the barrier was constructed.
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A Democratic stronghold in an or else Republican point out, El Paso has extended been one particular of the safer metropolitan areas of its measurement in the United States — a trend that community law enforcement officers attribute to the citizens and community policing, not to the border fence.
Even now, if Mr. Trump would like to pressure the discussion with Democrats, he could rarely have decided on a greater position. The presence of Mr. O’Rourke, who represented the city in Congress just before he gave up his Property seat to operate unsuccessfully for the Senate previous 12 months, ensures the president the sort of confrontation he relishes, even if the two adult men will not come encounter-to-facial area.
The president has insisted that El Paso was an example of why a wall is necessary.
“The border metropolis of El Paso, Texas, applied to have particularly high premiums of violent criminal offense — one of the highest in the state,” Mr. Trump claimed past 7 days during his State of the Union address. “Now, with a strong barrier in place, El Paso is one particular of our safest cities.”
Mr. O’Rourke debunked that claim on Friday in a prolonged write-up on the website Medium, in which he also attempted to established out an substitute blueprint for overhauling the nation’s immigration legal guidelines. El Paso’s accomplishment, he explained, repudiated Mr. Trump’s connect with for a border wall.
“He will promise a wall and repeat his lies about the potential risks that immigrants pose,” Mr. O’Rourke reported of the president.
Mr. O’Rourke has spotlighted his heavily Latino hometown on Facebook and on other social media web pages as an example of what works in immigration coverage. He plans to be a part of a “March for Truth” on Monday that will be a counterpoint to Mr. Trump’s “Make The united states Great Again” rally.
“We will welcome the president to 1 of the safest towns in the United States,” he wrote on Medium. “Safe not simply because of partitions, and not in spite of the reality that we are a city of immigrants. Harmless since we are a metropolis of immigrants and mainly because we deal with each individual other with dignity and regard.”
Mr. Trump received the thought to emphasis on El Paso from an trade with the Texas legal professional common, Ken Paxton, who informed him the wall dramatically lowered the city’s crime fee and hence served as a persuasive argument for making a wall together additional of the southwestern border.
“After that fence went up and divided Juárez, which continue to has an incredibly high criminal offense charge, the criminal offense fees in El Paso are now some of the lowest in the state,” Mr. Paxton reported. “So we know it works.”
Whilst it is correct that Juárez has a much larger crime amount than El Paso — and when the fence did slice down on unlawful crossings — the rest of his statement is, at most effective, highly misleading.
The El Paso Times, which analyzed 3 many years of figures from the F.B.I. and area law enforcement, identified that criminal offense peaked in 1993, with far more than 6,500 violent crimes recorded. It then dropped by 34 percent above the upcoming thirteen a long time.
The crime fee then improved by seventeen % from 2006 to 2011. Construction of the wall started in 2008, below President George W. Bush, and was done in mid-2009, all through the Obama administration. Criminal offense has ebbed and flowed in just a pretty narrow band due to the fact then.
Community officials, together with Mayor Dee Margo, a Republican, have spoken out in opposition to Mr. Trump’s statements. Agent Veronica Escobar, a Democrat who a short while ago won Mr. O’Rourke’s previous seat, has demanded that the president apologize and satisfy with migrant households looking for asylum in the United States.
Amongst lawmakers who stand for border districts, there is remarkably little guidance for a wall, and Democrats in Washington have caught to their refusal to give Mr. Trump the $five.seven billion he is requesting for it. The most up-to-date numbers floated by Democrats in their negotiations with their Republican counterparts are concerning $1.3 billion and $two billion.
Nevertheless Mr. Trump has been undeterred. In the course of his Point out of the Union handle, he repeated grisly tales of violent crimes fully commited by illegal immigrants — by no means brain that the crime price amongst immigrants is no higher than amid indigenous-born residents. He reported a wall would stem the flow of fatal opioids and other illicit medications into the United States — another dubious assertion, supplied that most prescription drugs get there at authorized ports of entry.
Mr. Trump’s aides are seeking to establish a momentum right after what they imagine was a speech very well obtained by his political foundation. Contrary to some of his predecessors, the president did not quickly depart on a street vacation to offer the messages in the tackle. But he has been keen to return to rallies, which energize him and loaded up his calendar right before the midterm elections.
Simon Romero contributed reporting.