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El Paso, a safe city beyond racist ghosts

Young people walk in front of a mural, on May 13, 2023, in El Paso, Texas (USA).  BLAZETRENDS/Jorge Fuentelsaz

By Jorge Fuentelsaz |

El Paso (USA) (BLAZETRENDS).- The citizens of El Paso (Texas, USA) claim the calm character of their city and the security that reigns in its streets, in the face of the xenophobic discourses of the ultra-right American that in each migratory crisis paints the border region as a zone of chaos, infested with criminal migrants and smugglers.

“Last year, almost 100 known terrorists were arrested illegally crossing the border and who knows how many more entered the country undetected,” Texas Governor Gregg Abbott, one of the most racist voices within the Republican Party, said on Twitter. .

For Greg Abbott, refugee is synonymous with crime and drug and arms trafficking. According to him, the president of the United States, Joe Biden “wants to welcome illegal immigrants with a red carpet.”

The echo of his racist statements is amplified in hundreds of far-right media such as Infowars. Where his collaborator Owen Shroyer has covered the last wave of migrants registered on the southern border due to the lifting of Title 42.

When the Border Guard transferred hundreds of migrants detained at gate 42 of the border fence to its facilities on Thursday night to be processed, Shroyer did not hesitate to make a live connection in which he assured that the Texas National Guard was collaborating. with Border Patrol in a human smuggling operation.

El Paso, a quiet and safe city

However, the reality in El Paso, the border city where there has been the highest number of migrant detentions in the last eight months, is far from the catastrophic image that politicians like Abbott are trying to create.

According to the firm Smartasset, which compiles a ranking of the safest cities in the country. El Paso ranks 12th among the cities with the least crime per inhabitant in the US and McAllen (Texas) is the third safest city.

“The migration crisis has put our region in the spotlight on something that, unfortunately, is not real. In fact, we are the safest big city in America. Our crime rates are very low, but the media present our region as a violent border, lawless due to the immigration crisis,” Jon Barela, president of The Borderplez Alliance, told BLAZETRENDS.

Barela, who has been an unsuccessful candidate for the Republican Party for the United States Congress, also does not agree with Biden’s immigration policy. He stresses: “We desperately need a bipartisan immigration policy, a long-term immigration solution.”

From his office in El Paso, where you can see the border and the headquarters of the Ciudad Juárez (Chihuahua, Mexico) Mayor’s Office, he insists that one of the main obstacles to resolving the immigration issue is the fact that it is a matter ” very emotional on both flanks of the political field.”

In this way, he urges “to put emotion aside, to arrive at something that is best for our country and for those who are looking for work in it.”

“Immigrants are the future”

For Javier García, owner for 20 years of the Oregon hardware store, which is less than 50 meters from the Church of the Sacred Heart of Jesus, where nearly 1,000 refugees came to camp this week before most of them turned themselves in to the authorities, migrants are the future of the United States.

“They come with children and the fact that immigrants travel with their small families is fine, it is the future of the country,” says García, who complains that young Americans have fewer and fewer children and more dogs and cats.

This Mexican-born ironmonger assures that he has never had any security problems. “El Paso has always been considered one of the quietest cities in the country,” and, furthermore, he does not hesitate to describe Abbott as racist.

“First of all, he doesn’t care about the El Paso situation. He does not come here and only presents what interests him to promote a bad image of the city, when in reality things are not like that. This situation became politicized and ultimately those who were harmed were the immigrants”, ditch.

A “regrettable distortion”

The director of the NGO Border Network of Human Rights, Fernando García, also maintains that “El Paso, today, is one of the safest cities in the country, it is safer than Austin (Texas) where Governor Greg Abbott lives.”

“However, they paint our community as a community of chaos and violence, which is not true. That is sent, used and consumed by Americans with somewhat racist and xenophobic tendencies and they use them as the great truth: that there is a great invasion of the country by criminals. That is the unfortunate distortion that is happening today,” this defender of the rights of migrants in El Paso told BLAZETRENDS.

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