Despite marauding cowboys shooting dudes for talking to women in bars, El Paso has long been a very safe city, despite being across the border from Ciudad Juarez. It has consistently had low crime for decades. Do you think this stops Donald Trump or other racists from claiming it is super dangerous or that it used to be super dangerous and now it’s not because a wall was built across the border? Of course not. What are facts when you have racist narratives to push? People in El Paso have had more than enough of this:
El Paso has repeatedly made lists of the nation’s safest cities for almost two decades. Escobar on Tuesday posted tweets of newspaper headlines dating to 2000 about El Paso’s safe city rankings. Extensive fencing was completed in 2010 under a bill approved by Congress in 2006. El Paso has continued to have lower crime rates than most other U.S. cities of more than 500,000 people. Most border cities also have lower crime rates than cities of similar size in the country’s interior.
In interviews with Texas Monthly after the State of the Union Tuesday night, Barela and Escobar said Trump and others who make false claims about El Paso’s safety are doing significant damage to the community. Barela deals with safety questions frequently during trips to recruit businesses to El Paso and fears Trump’s State of the Union speech will make it even more difficult to build El Paso’s economy. “It’s frustrating to me to have to explain that El Paso is one of the safest or the safest cities of its size in the entire country. Most of these businesses are surprised to hear those statistics and these false narratives and frankly lies that are perpetuated by the administration doesn’t help us create jobs,” he said.
Escobar said the State of the Union speech was another example of Trump saying whatever he wants in order to make a political case, whether grounded in reality or not. “It’s his desperate attempt to do anything and say anything in order to convince the American public that we need a wall. And I don’t think Americans buy it. But it is harmful to the community, it’s harmful to the border. And frankly it’s a part of his race baiting,” she said.
Barela and Escobar said El Paso and other border cities have to continue to push back aggressively on efforts by Trump and others to falsely characterize the region for political gain. But Escobar said Republican leaders have to stand up. “There is a real blow to all of us when we have the president lying about us on national television during the State of the Union address. It is unacceptable. His own party needs to hold them accountable. I would hope that Senators Ted Cruz and John Cornyn would stand up for the truth and stand up for the border communities that they represent in the Senate. His party needs to hold him accountable,” she said.
Yeah, good luck with that.