The wall built along the Texas-Mexico border that separates El Paso and Ciudad Juárez hasn’t made the American city any safer, despite President Donald Trump’s claims to the contrary just last night. But a top Texas official took this big lie a step further, claiming heads would literally be rolling through “pool halls” if not for this wall.
Speaking to Fox News’ Laura Ingraham after Trump’s rally in El Paso, Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick argued drug-related crime in Mexico would have spread to El Paso, and credited the wall for keeping the city’s murder rate down.
“If that fence were not here, that violence, of decapitating people, of hanging people from bridges, of cutting off their heads in pool halls and down the street, that violence would be here in El Paso,” Patrick said.
But the claim that El Paso was riddled with crime before the raising of the city’s latest iteration of a border wall—a fence constructed in 2008 under President George W. Bush’s Secure Fence Act—is false. According to the El Paso Times and its review of the city’s crime reports, violent crime in the city has fluctuated, and not in any part due to the construction of the wall. From the Times:
Looking broadly at the past 30 years, the rate of violent crime reached its peak in 1993, when more than 6,500 violent crimes were recorded.
But between 1996 and 2006, the number of violent crimes reported by law enforcement fell by more than 34 percent and less than 2,700 crimes were reported.
From 2006 to 2011 — two years before the fence was built to two years after — the number of violent crimes recorded in El Paso increased by 17 percent.
Patrick, Trump, and anyone else who parrots this lie are flat-out wrong. But facts have never stopped them from spinning visceral images of heads rolling and women gagged with duct tape and whatever else they can come up with to conjure up visions of blood-thirsty immigrants. And with the battle over Trump’s wall nowhere near over, this vilification of Mexican immigrants and Mexican-Americans isn’t likely to stop anytime soon.