Trump made the claim last week in his State of the Union Address when he said El Paso “used to have extremely high rates of violent crime — one of the highest in the country, and considered one of our nation’s most dangerous cities.”
“Now, with a powerful barrier in place, El Paso is one of our safest cities,” Trump said.
El Paso is a Texas border city adjacent to Mexico’s Ciudad Juarez. Margo said while Trump was right to call El Paso safe, he was wrong to attribute its drop in crime to the construction of a barrier along the border — a remark he said Trump had echoed from Texas GOP Attorney General Ken Paxton.
“If people had contacted me about our attorney general’s remarks, I would have corrected it at that time,” Margo said.
Margo said El Paso was safe “going back to 2005,” before the construction of border fencing.
“The barrier went up, and the fence went up, and it’s only about ten miles long,” Margo said. “And the total fencing in the El Paso sector is about 78 miles. And it’s not continuous. Now it’s part of the process for border security, but it’s not the total panacea.”
In a tweet responding to the speech, Margo said the fencing had “impacted illegal immigration and curbed criminal activity” but was not the “sole deterrent.”
Margo said Monday he was “pleased” Trump was coming to El Paso for a rally and that he hoped to speak with him.
“Hopefully we’ll get a chance to visit and talk about and see firsthand what the border really looks like and how we are so closely intertwined, for almost 400 years, between El Paso and Juarez,” Margo said.
CNN’s Maegan Vazquez contributed to this report.