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El Paso leaders to Trump: Concrete and steel cannot replace hard work of our law enforcement

Congresswoman Veronica Escobar and several El Paso elected officials held a news conference Monday to ask President Donald Trump “to correct the record on his misleading State of the Union remarks about El Paso, and to apologize to El Pasoans for misrepresenting their hometown.”

During his State of the Union address last week, President Trump claimed El Paso became one of the safest cities in America after the installation of a border barrier. Trump’s comment ignited a firestorm of criticism from local leaders. “The border city of El Paso, Texas 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,” Trump said. “Now, with a powerful barrier in place, El Paso is one of our safest cities.”

“We are a very proud community. Unfortunately, President Trump repeated misinformation provided to him by Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton that El Paso was once one of the most dangerous cities in the U.S. and it was the border barrier that made us safe,” said Escobar.

The El Paso comunity has been “battling this information for far too long and to have the President of the United States repeat this on the nationl stage during such a significant speech to the American public was disturbing and dismaying,” said El Paso’s newly-elected congresswoman.

Escobar said El Paso has long been a safe community and an economic artery for two economies. “We see $90 billion worth of trade come trough our ports of entry every year,” said Escobar.

El Paso County Judge Ricardo Samaniego echod Escobar’s statements. “We’ve worked so hard to have the image of a solid community, a community that works together, and for that to be taken away from us, it is very serious,” said Samaniego, “Image is very important when we try to bring companies to El Paso.”

El Paso County Commissioner Carlos Leon, a former El Paso police chief, praised Escobar for standing up or El Paso in the wake of the president’s comment. Leon urged El Pasoans not to focus on the president’s “misinformed” statement, rather, to move forward and continue fostering the relationships that have made El Paso a safe and vibrant border community.

“We are made safe by our resident’s relationship to our community and by our peace officers’ relationship with the people they serve. Concrete and steel cannot replace the hard work of our law enforcement professionals who patrol our neighborhoods every day,” said Leon.

The annunciation house also held a news conference because “the narratives floating around that portraty things that simply aren’t true.”

Executive Director Ruben Garcia invited three refugee families to speak including a mother and her two daughters, a husband and wife with their two sons and a man who was granted asylum in 1988.

They each shared details about their experience in their home country and their experience seeking aslyin in the Unites States.

Yeime and her two daughters, who were born in the U.S., were deported back to Honduras.

They reached the border in October and Yeime said she was separated from her two daughters immediately. She was reunited with them on Friday.

Oscar’s parents were killed by a death squad in El Salvador. He said he and his siblings fled his home country when he was 13.

He was granted asylum in 1988 and graduated from UTEP with a Bachelors in Science.

Glenda and her husband Hector came to the U.S with their two sons because, “We’re here for an opportunity…in our contruy there arent any opportunities, there’s no security for our children,” Glenda said. “For this reason we had to take our children with only the clothes on their back, and we’re very thankful to God that we’re still alive, even though we were on a very long journey with many difficulites.”

Garcia ended the news conference by saying, “We’re here this morning to talk about the criminalization of refugees,of taking individuals and families and converting them into criminals for no other reason than to politicise for political advantage.”

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