Beto O'Rourke will lead an anti-wall march through his Texas hometown as Trump holds a rally there
- Beto O'Rourke will help lead a rally opposing President Donald Trump's border wall in his hometown of El Paso, Texas, at the same time as Trump holds a rally there.
- The one-mile march will follow the US-Mexico border, ending with a rally across the streets from Trump's rally.
- 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 contradict Trump's claims.
- Trump's campaign said "there's no better place to demonstrate that walls work than in El Paso."
Beto O'Rourke will help to lead an anti-wall protest march in his hometown of El Paso, Texas, at the same time as President Donald Trump holds a rally in the town.
O'Rourke will join a one-mile march along the US border before speaking at across the street from Trump's rally on February 11, CNN reported. The march, organized by Women's March El Paso, is advertised as "March for Truth: Stop the Wall, Stop the Lies."
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 the most dangerous in the US until several miles of barrier were built in the city in 2008.
But O'Rourke, local political and law enforcement figures, and federal statistics conflict with Trump's claims. Rep. Joaquin Castro of San Antonio said that "the people of Texas know that the president is lying, that these are wonderful places, that they're safe cities," according to the Texas Tribune, and arguing that even Republican Texas senators would agree with him.
El Paso's Sherrif Richard Wiles said on Wednesday that Trump was spreading "falsehoods" about the city "in an attempt to justify building a 2,000-mile wall," The Guardian reported.
"It has never been considered one of our nation's most dangerous cities and El Paso was a safe city long before any wall was built," he said.
El Paso Mayor Dee Margo, a Republican, also tweeted that "El Paso was NEVER one of the MOST dangerous cities in the US."
"We've had a fence for 10 years and it has impacted illegal immigration and curbed criminal activity. It is NOT the sole deterrent. Law enforcement in our community continues to keep us safe #SOTU," she wrote.
A fact check of the president's address by the El Paso Times noted that violent crime in the border city actually peaked in 1993, then fell by more than 30% between that year and 2006 - before the barrier was built. FBI statistics also show that El Paso's crime rate has dropped since, from 457 crimes for every 100,000 residents in 2009 to 393 in 2014.
In a statement, O'Rourke said that the march will "show the country the reality of the border -- a vibrant, safe, binational community that proudly celebrates its culture, history, diversity and status as a city of immigrants."
O'Rourke has repeatedly condemned Trump's idea for a border wall, and campaigned for a senate seat last year on the basis that a wall was not useful for improving US security and also harmed people's dignity.
He condemned the wall again in a series of tweets after Trump's State of the Union address, saying that walls have traditionally not worked and have "resulted in the deaths of thousands of migrants, including children."
This cynical rhetoric of war, of invasions, of fear - totally disconnected from the truth - has led us to treat our fellow humans in the most inhumane way. And it hasn't made us safer. We thought we could sacrifice some of our humanity for security, we risk losing both.- Beto O'Rourke (@BetoORourke) February 6, 2019
"This cynical rhetoric of war, of invasions, of fear - totally disconnected from the truth - has led us to treat our fellow humans in the most inhumane way. And it hasn't made us safer. We thought we could sacrifice some of our humanity for security, we risk losing both," he wrote.
Michael Glassner, the chief operating officer of the Trump's campaign, said in a statement on Wednesday announcing the El Paso rally that "As the President continues his fight to secure our border, there's no better place to demonstrate that walls work than in El Paso."
O'Rourke, who emerged as a national figure during his Senate campaign, has not yet decided whether he will make a presidential bid. He told Oprah Winfrey that he would decide by the end of February, as he said he needs to figure out how it would affect his family.
El Paso was NEVER one of the MOST dangerous cities in the US. We've had a fence for 10 years and it has impacted illegal immigration and curbed criminal activity. It is NOT the sole deterrent. Law enforcement in our community continues to keep us safe #SOTU- Mayor Dee Margo (@mayor_margo) February 6, 2019