President Donald Trump rallied his base in the southern border city of El Paso, Texas on February 11, continuing to make patently false claims while dismissing realities supported by data. But hours before Trump’s first campaign rally of the year convened, the El Paso County government motioned to preemptively counter his talking points, recognizing that “false statements about El Paso will continue to be made.”
El Paso County Commissioners Court passed a resolution expressing that it is “disillusioned by President Trump’s lies regarding the border and our community.”
Citing Customs and Border Protection data from 2017 that reported “the lowest level of illegal cross-border migration on record,” the resolution accuses the Trump administration of “disseminat[ing] false information,” such as “calling the way of life on the US-Mexico border a ‘crisis situation.'”
Trump’s call to “Build the Wall”—and, now, to “Finish the Wall”—depends on the false claim that El Paso will be one of “the most dangerous cities in the United States until the construction of border fencing.” Yet, as the resolution points out, El Paso already has a border barrier and a low crime rate—one that was falling even before the fencing was completed in 2009.
At a counter-rally, held outside the El Paso County Coliseum where Trump and his supporters gathered, former El Paso congressman Beto O’Rourke said, “We know that walls do not save lives; walls end lives.”
The El Paso county resolution, similarly, finds walls to be “immoral” and destructive of life, particularly in the context of the Trump administration’s family separation policies. Such policies, the county says, “will ultimately bankrupt our nation’s economy and our moral fiber.”
Other points from the resolution include characterizing Trump’s claim that “thousands of terrorists have been apprehended at the southern border” as a “gross piece of misinformation.”
Noting that neither Trump nor his representatives have interacted with local authorities on this issue, the El Paso commissioners invited him to “meet with local officials to become properly informed” about the region.
The resolution omitted to call out Trump’s false claims regarding the way controlled substances are trafficked across the southern border.
“Remember drugs. The drugs are pouring into this country,” Trump claimed at a news conference in early January. “They don’t go through the ports of entry. When they do, they sometimes get caught.”
But in November 2018, the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) reported that transnational criminal organizations most commonly traffic drugs into the US through vehicles entering by way of official land ports. The DEA also found that most cocaine and fentanyl seizures occur at ports of entry or United States Border Patrol checkpoints.
Image: Screenshot of C-SPAN2 Live Stream.