EPeak Daily

As Donald Trump arrives for El Paso rally, locals say he obtained historical past mistaken

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EL PASO – Lowriders. Dehydration. A scorching automotive steering wheel in the midst of summer season.

Simply hours after President Donald Trump’s State of the Union remarks about this border metropolis being a hotbed of violence, these have been a number of the tongue-in-cheek social media posts about the actual risks El Pasoans confront.


Residents listed below are used to their metropolis being mischaracterized as a conflict zone by outsiders, a permanent impression that emerged greater than a decade in the past when its sister metropolis, Ciudad Juárez, was within the throes of cartel and gang violence.

In his speech final week, Trump stated El Paso was one of many nation’s most violent cities — till a border fence was constructed in 2008. The dig at El Paso was a part of a 14-minute passage concerning the U.S.-Mexico border — heavy on warnings from the president concerning the risks unlawful immigrants and legal gangs pose to America — by a commander in chief intent on convincing Congress to pay for his long-promised border wall at the same time as political gridlock over the problem threatens to convey one other authorities shutdown later this week.

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Negotiations to achieve a compromise on immigration appeared to interrupt down over the weekend; congressional negotiators stated the deadlock wasn’t over wall funding, however what number of immigrants Immigration and Customs Enforcement can detain. That they had set a Monday deadline to discover a resolution in time for the Home and Senate to vote earlier than Friday’s shutdown deadline.

That raises the stakes for Trump’s deliberate rally Monday in El Paso, simply miles from the Rio Grande. He’s anticipated to make an argument for expanded border safety — and native and state leaders additionally count on him to double down on statements they are saying are flat-out lies about El Paso’s latest historical past.

“El Paso has all the time been protected, lengthy earlier than a wall was constructed,” U.S. Rep. Veronica Escobar stated in a marketing campaign e-mail despatched Friday. “This Monday the President will journey to El Paso for a rally and try to make use of our group for a canine and pony present.”

Whereas congressional Democrats do battle with the president over the border wall, El Pasoans have been striving to set the file straight about their metropolis’s crime fee and its relationship to a ramping up of immigration enforcement courting again to the early 1990s.

Within the fall of 1993, an operation spearheaded by former El Paso Border Patrol Sector Chief Sylvestre Reyes, a Democrat who would later symbolize El Paso within the U.S. Congress for 16 years, precipitated essentially the most vital drop in unlawful border crossings within the metropolis’s historical past.

Beneath Operation Maintain the Line, Border Patrol brokers lined up close to the banks of the Rio Grande to behave as a deterrent — slightly than their typical technique of patrolling the downtown space looking for immigrants after they’d crossed. About 400 of the sector’s 650 brokers that yr have been despatched to the entrance traces and unfold throughout 20 miles of the border.

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“As Border Patrol apprehensions and petty crime charges dropped in El Paso, the operation was hailed as a essential success within the well-liked press,” based on a 1997 report by the Congressional Analysis Service states. The report added that after further brokers have been redeployed from different sectors to El Paso because the operation continued, apprehensions of undocumented immigrants decreased by 72 % in fiscal yr 1994. In accordance with Border Patrol statistics, the variety of apprehensions plunged from almost 286,000 within the El Paso sector throughout fiscal yr 1993 to about 79,700 the next yr.

The technique later unfold to the San Diego Border Patrol sector and ultimately grew to become the blueprint for the Immigration and Naturalization Companies’ “prevention by means of deterrence” technique throughout the southern border. (The INS was the immigration enforcement arm of the U.S. Division of Justice earlier than its duties have been assigned to businesses throughout the Division of Homeland Safety in 2003.)


In the meantime, Border Patrol went on a hiring spree to place extra brokers on the border. When Maintain the Line started in 1993, the El Paso sector had about 600 brokers. Over the last yr of the Bush administration in 2008, that had jumped to greater than 2,500 and ultimately reached a excessive of about 2,750 in 2010 underneath the Obama administration earlier than declining once more. The drop has continued since Trump took workplace: By the top of fiscal yr 2017, the variety of brokers had dipped to 2,182 within the sector.

Although the president usually makes a direct correlation between unlawful immigration and crime, statistics present that even after the dip in apprehensions after Maintain the Line was applied, El Paso didn’t see its violent crime fee drop beneath the nationwide common till nicely after the Border Patrol buildup started.

From 1993 to 2004, the town’s total violent crime fee per 100,000 residents was increased than the nationwide common, based on FBI and El Paso Police Division statistics. From 2005 to 2008 — earlier than fencing was erected alongside the Rio Grande — El Paso’s violent crime fee fell beneath the nationwide common. It started to rise once more over the following 4 years, after the fencing went up.

The pattern isn’t misplaced on El Paso Democrats, who’ve argued towards extra boundaries for years.

“Our authorities constructed a border fence in El Paso in 2008, a misguided response to 9/11 (no terrorists have crossed the southern border and attacked this nation),” former congressman and U.S. Senate candidate Beto O’Rourke tweeted. “It didn’t make us any safer. In actual fact crime in El Paso elevated after [the fence] was constructed.”

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