US President Donald Trump speaks during a rally in El Paso. Photograph:( AFP )
'It's an incorrect reference,' said Margo in an interview with EFE when asked about Trump's claim that before the building of a barrier along part of the US-Mexico border El Paso was one of the 'most dangerous' cities in the country due to its 'extremely high' rates of violence.
The mayor of El Paso, Texas - Republican Dee Margo - said Monday that President Donald Trump made a mistake by linking building a frontier wall with a drop in crime in the border city.
"It's an incorrect reference," said Margo in an interview with EFE when asked about Trump's claim that before the building of a barrier along part of the US-Mexico border El Paso was one of the "most dangerous" cities in the country due to its "extremely high" rates of violence.
The Texas city, which has a population of about 700,000, has become the focus of national attention after Trump mentioned it in his prime time, nationally broadcast State of the Union address to Congress last week.
In contrast with its cross-border counterpart in Mexico, Ciudad Juarez, El Paso never has been among the most dangerous cities in this country and before the wall was built in this area in 2008 it was - in fact - among the safest compared to other US urban areas of the same size.
"El Paso is one of the safest cities above 500,000 residents in the entire country," emphasized Margo a few hours before Trump is scheduled to hold a campaign rally there.
The mayor hailed the fact that the president was visiting her city, "even though it's a campaign event," because "if (Trump) wants to understand the border, he must come to El Paso."
Margo said that border security must be achieved using "advanced technology, more personnel and a physical barrier," although she added that the wall "cannot be continuous" due to geographical considerations.
"We're a sovereign country and we need to control and protect our border," the Republican mayor said.
Trump has made his campaign promise to build a border wall one of his priorities during the first two years of his term, and he has demanded that Congress provide funding to construct it, although originally he promised that Mexico would fully pay for it.
Democratic lawmakers, who now control the House of Representatives, have categorically refused to allocate budgetary funding to build the border barrier, and the inability of lawmakers to reach a compromise on the matter in Congress that Trump would accept resulted in the partial shutdown of the federal government for five weeks - from December 22 through January 25 - the longest such stretch in history.