Trump Falsely Claims Violent Crime Plummeted After Border Wall Went Up In El Paso
President Donald Trump on Monday presented the border wall as a work in progress, hailing the start of a “big, big portion” with much more coming soon. That’s a hefty exaggeration from a president who has yet to see an extra mile of barrier completed since he took office.
With another possible government shutdown looming, and illegal immigration still at the heart of the budget dispute, Trump is pulling out the stops to portray his proposed wall as essential to public safety, including stemming crime. As he’s done repeatedly, Trump also defied the record in claiming that the wall that Congress has refused to pay for is rapidly coming together anyway.
Trump addressed the subjects at an El Paso, Texas, rally Monday night and an earlier White House meeting with sheriffs. A look at some of his comments:
TRUMP, on the effect of a border wall on crime in El Paso: “When that wall went up, it’s a whole different ball game. … I don’t care whether a mayor is a Republican or a Democrat. They’re full of crap when they say it hasn’t made a big difference. I heard the same thing from the fake news. They said, ‘Oh crime, it actually stayed the same.’ It didn’t stay the same. It went way down. … Thanks to a powerful border wall in El Paso, Texas, it’s one of America’s safest cities now.” — rally remarks.
Trump falsely suggests a dramatic drop in crime in El Paso due to a border wall. In fact, the city’s murder rate was less than half the national average in 2005, the year before the start of its border fence. It’s true that the FBI’s Uniform Crime Report shows that El Paso’s annual number of reported violent crimes dropped from nearly 5,000 in 1995 to around 2,700 in 2016. But that corresponded with similar declines in violent crime nationwide and included periods when the city’s crime rates increased year over year, despite new fencing and walls.
Before the wall project started, El Paso had been rated one of the three safest major U.S. cities going back to 1997.