Showdown in El Paso: A footnote

Following up on the dueling rallies in El Paso this past Monday night, a long-time reader who lives in El Paso writes:

I wanted to alert you to a local news item near my home in El Paso, Texas and offer a little perspective. It’s hard to an illustrative example this profound. On the very night the president held a rally here, prompting the predictable chorus of denunciations and media “fact” checking about his assertions that walls work to keep Americans safe, more than 300 illegal immigrants were apprehended entering the country at a spot where existing fencing stops. This happened about six and a half miles from where the president spoke.

I agree with the president’s critics that violent crime here was never anywhere near as terrible as we’ve seen in places like Chicago and Detroit and that the reduction in in our crime rate started well before the current fencing was installed along the border. But statistics don’t tell a complete story here. I can vividly remember a time when “border bandits” used to enter the country at night and rob motorists on a road that runs along the border between the suburb of Sunland Park, NM and downtown El Paso. The prevailing wisdom was to never use Paisano Drive after dark. Bandits would block the road with old couches or other obstructions, conduct their robberies, and then slip back into Mexico before U.S. authorities could arrive.

In the late 1990s, the wall/fence went up in this area, and the robberies ceased. I couldn’t immediately find local news reports about this little crime wave, but here is an AP wire story from 1995. I now freely travel on Paisano Drive at night without concern for my family’s safety.

I’m attaching a two photographic overviews for clarity’s sake. The wider view shows West El Paso, Sunland Park, New Mexico, and the Ciudad Juarez shanty suburb of Anapra, Mexico. I live two miles from Mexico, just north of the prominent oval shape – a water feature at the Sunland Park (horse) Racetrack. Paisano Drive is the road marked US 85, just west of Interstate 10.

The tighter view shows where current fencing that runs between New Mexico and Chihuahua, Mexico stops at the base of a small mountain, Mt. Cristo Rey, which rises up about 1,000 feet from the desert floor.

In recent years, the conventional wisdom has been never to climb Mt. Cristo Rey alone, because bandits have been known to rob hikers there. Here’s one relatively recent account.

El Paso is a fairly large city of about 700,000 people. The overall citywide “statistics” drown out and provide cover for a false narrative. It’s obvious to anyone willing to make sense of what their own lying eyes are telling them. Fence/wall = No crime. No fence/wall = crime.

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