President Trump Preps for El Paso Rally

President Trump Preps for El Paso Rally

Supporters of President Donald Trump's proposed border security measures gathered to form a human "wall" along a section of the U.S. -Mexico border in New Mexico on Saturday.

O'Rourke, who lost in his bid for a U.S. Senate seat in Texas, promised to blast Trump for stoking "false fear" about immigrants and telling "lies" about his hometown El Paso, which Trump said was a unsafe place before it had a border fence.

"With the president being in El Paso, it provides an opportunity to test a message that's very different than President Trump's message", communications consultant Hector Nieto said. The events, which will feature music and other speakers, are meant to highlight El Paso's strength as a binational community - and push back against Trump's long-sought border wall.

On the other side of the debate, Trump's campaign put out a video highlighting the need for a wall and featuring El Paso residents.

"We are here to bring attention to the fact that there isn't a wall here", he said.

On the ground in El Paso, however, Mayor Dee Margo denied the city's law and order situation was turned around by building the wall.

It's an argument he backs up with lurid warnings about rapists and people traffickers extending far into the American heartland - a message that critics describe as xenophobic and based on heavily manipulated data. According to Federal Bureau of Investigation crime data, the city had the third lowest violent crime rate among 35 USA cities with a population over 500,000 in 2005, 2006 and 2007 - before construction of a 57-mile-long fence started in mid-2008.

The El Paso Times, responding to Paxton's claim last month, noted that violent crime in El Paso peaked in 1993 and dropped 34% between that year and 2006. Construction of the wall in El Paso finished in 2008.

The dueling rallies come after Trump claimed in his State of the Union speech last week that a border fence separating El Paso from Mexico reduced the city's high crime rate.

"We've had a fence for 10 years and it has impacted illegal immigration and curbed criminal activity. Law enforcement in our community continues to keep us safe", Margo added.

The PBS NewsHour will update this story as it develops.

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