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El Paso mayor refutes Trump’s claim that city was 'dangerous' before the wall

El Paso Mayor Dee Margo joined Hardball with Chris Matthews to refute President Trump’s claim in Tuesday’s State of the Union address that the Texas city was one of the most dangerous cities in the country until a barrier was built on its southern end. According to Margo and FBI statistics, El Paso has been one of the safest large cities in America for years.

“We are considered the safest city with a population greater than 500,000,” Margo said. “I talked to our police chief, through his staff, today, and found out in 2008, we were like second. In 2009, after the fence was built, we were still second. But we’ve progressed to be the No. 1 safest city in the nation.” The true ranking of El Paso’s standing among the safest large cities in America has been debated for years, although it does seem clear that Trump’s claim about it being one of the “most dangerous cities in the country” before the wall was built is inaccurate

Margo was quick to send out a tweet claiming Trump’s narrative on El Paso was false, as did Texas Rep. Veronica Escobar, who went so far as to call Trump a liar.

Margo went on to say in the interview that the fence along El Paso’s southern border is only part of its security. He argued that building a fence from El Paso to Brownsville, Texas, isn’t realistic, citing the terrain and the fact that much of the land is privately owned. And while politicians in Washington, D.C., continue to debate the wall, Margo is looking elsewhere for solutions to border security.

“Rather than elected officials telling me, I’d rather hear Homeland Security telling me what they recommend for control of our border,” Margo said. 

Trump plans to visit El Paso for a rally next week, and Margo hopes he gets a chance to defend his city.

“The fact that he’s coming out, I’m very pleased,” Margo said. “And I hope to have some time to visit with him and show him how our border functions.”

Hardball with Chris Matthews airs weeknights at 7 on MSNBC.

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