“Under the leadership of Sheriff Richard D. Wiles, the El Paso County Sheriff’s Office continues to partner with citizens of El Paso County to make our community a safer place to live, work and play,” EPCSO officials shared via an emailed news release Friday evening.
Violent crimes include Murder, Sexual Assault, Robbery, and Aggravated Assault. Property crimes include Burglary, Theft, and Motor Vehicle Theft.
“This significant decrease is a result of the commitment of the men and women of the El Paso County Sheriff’s Office, and other federal, state, and local law enforcement agencies,” EPCSO officials stated. “Business and community organizations such as Crime Stoppers, and Neighborhood Watch, together with local governmental entities throughout the County have furthered advanced the war against crime.”
Additionally, since Sheriff Wiles and his administration took office in January of 2009, UCR reports indicate a 71% decrease in crime.
EPCSO officials added, “The importance of citizen involvement in reporting and being proactive in countless ways, and on a daily basis, cannot be overstated in terms of the importance of partnership between law enforcement and the citizens it serves.”
Below is a graphic, courtesy EPCSO, comparing crime statistics from 2017 to 2018; and 2009 to 2018.
President Donald Trump is prepared to sign a massive spending and border security deal, while at the same time declaring a national emergency to get more money to build his border wall, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., said Thursday.
McConnell made the announcement on the Senate floor, and told senators to prepare to vote shortly on the legislation that would stave off a government shutdown Friday at midnight.
“The president will sign the bill. We’ll be voting on it shortly,” McConnell said.
McConnell also said he’d told the president he would support the emergency declaration, which would allow the president to circumvent Congress and use the military to build his wall. McConnell has voiced opposition for weeks to the idea of Trump declaring a national emergency.
McConnell’s announcement came after hours of limbo in the Senate as GOP leaders waited for a sign from the White House that Trump would support their hard-fought compromise even though it offers just a fraction of the $5.7 billion Trump wanted for his wall.
McConnell was determined to avoid a repeat of what happened in December just before the government shut down for what turned into a record-long 35-day funding lapse.
Shortly before Christmas the Senate unanimously passed legislation to keep the government open without funding Trump’s border wall, believing the president supported the bill. But Trump turned against the bill amid an intense conservative backlash, and the government shut down a short time later after Democrats refused to support the money Trump wanted for his border wall.
McConnell voiced confidence the legislation would pass the Senate, telling reporters earlier that he has the votes.
His sudden appearance on the floor to announce the president’s assent came in dramatic fashion, as he interrupted Sen. Chuck Grassley, R-Iowa, who was speaking about biofuels at the time, and snapped at the majority leader over the interruption. But McConnell wanted to move quickly as soon as he got assurances from the president.
After the Senate votes on the 1,159-page bill, the House is expected to follow Thursday evening. The legislation would fund nine Cabinet departments and dozens of other agencies through Sept. 30, removing — for now — the threat of another government shutdown and political brinkmanship over Trump’s demands to fund a U.S.-Mexico border wall.
The compromise provides $1.375 billion for 55 miles of new fences along the border in Texas, far short of the $5.7 billion Trump had sought for 234 miles of steel walls. The final number for border barriers is also less than deals that were on the table last year before Trump pushed the government into a record-long 35-day shutdown in an unsuccessful attempt to get all the wall money he wants.
Trump has long threatened a national emergency declaration to make good on his promise of building walls along the U.S.-Mexico border. Pentagon leaders have begun searching accounts that the president could tap to redirect funding for the wall.
Senate Minority Leader Charles E. Schumer, D-N.Y., said an emergency declaration would be the wrong move. It’s expected to face legal challenges and the House could pass a disapproval resolution that McConnell would be forced to put on the Senate floor, an outcome McConnell had hoped to avoid. McConnell had cautioned Trump privately about the scenario.
Although few were enthused about the concessions both sides made in search of a compromise, lawmakers of both parties were eager to see the package pass so they can move on from months of wrangling over shutdown politics and Trump’s wall.
The legislation was released just before midnight Wednesday, giving lawmakers and the White House very little time to review it before it’s put to a vote. Lawmakers defended the rushed timeline because of the impending deadline they face Friday night at midnight, when funding will expire for the Homeland Security Department and other agencies comprising about a quarter of the federal government — unless Congress and Trump act first.
Some liberals were unhappy with the bill, arguing that no money at all should go to border barriers. They’re also unhappy that overall funding for the Homeland Security Department increases under the bill, and that the legislation does not do more to limit the U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement agency’s detention authority.
Democratic negotiators included language they said should limit ICE’s detention numbers over time, but Republicans say ICE will still have the flexibility to detain as many immigrants as agency officials deem appropriate. Some liberals and immigrant advocates agreed with the GOP assessment.
In a joint statement Thursday, freshman Democratic Reps. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez of New York, Ilhan Omar of Minnesota, Ayanna Pressley of Massachusetts and Rashida Tlaib of Michigan announced their opposition to the legislation, citing Trump’s “weaponization” of federal immigration agencies.
“The Department of Homeland Security does not deserve an increase in funding and that is why we intend to vote no on this funding package,” the four lawmakers wrote.
Liberal opposition did not appear widespread enough to threaten passage of the legislation, and Democratic leaders argued lawmakers should support it as the best deal available under the circumstances.
“The agreement is a reasonable compromise. It provides additional funding for smart, effective border security. It does not fund the president’s wall, but it does fund smart border security initiatives that both parties have always supported,” Schumer said on the Senate floor. “Most importantly, it will keep our government open.”
Some House Republicans, too, had been waiting for a solid assurance from Trump before they would agree to vote for the bill.
“I’m still reviewing and awaiting the president’s response,” Rep. James Comer, R-Ky., said Thursday. “I need to see enthusiastic support.”
John Wagner contributed to this report
Authors: ERICA WERNER, DAMIAN PALETTA AND SEUNG MIN KIM, THE WASHINGTON POST
Dressed in warm winter gear, and fighting wind and cold temperatures thousands drove, Ubered, Lyfted, and walked to gather next to Bowie High School, for the March for Truth -in protest of President Donald Trump’s visit to the borderland on Monday.
Many in the crowd held colorful signs that varied from Basta Trump (Stop Trump), to We Don’t Need a Border Wall. Others illustrated Trump’s hair disheveled by wind; and at the rendezvous point, at Chalio Acosta Park, a large inflated balloon showcased the president dressed in a clansman outfit.
The March for Truth, led by the El Paso Women’s March, in conjunction with the Border Network for Human Rights and 45 more organizations, began just a mile east from the El Paso County Coliseum, where President Donald Trump would make his appearance.
With the backdrop of the U.S. Border behind them; and the sunset of the Franklin Mountains in front former U.S. Congressman Beto O’Rourke and newly elected U.S. Congresswoman Veronica Escobar spoke to the crowd.
“We have had a difficult two years El Paso,” Escobar said. “We have been at the center of the politics of cruelty. Politics that have ripped children from the arms of their mothers. Politics that have been preventing asylum seekers from seeking refuge on this very soil. Politics of cruelty that have imprisoned children in Tornillo. And are we angry? You’re damn right we are angry.”
Cheers and applause erupted.
Additional speakers at the March included former State Senator Wendy Davis; Fernando Garcia, Executive Director of the Border Network for Human Rights; Ruben Garcia, Director of the Annunciation House; Linda Rivas, and Claudia Yoli Ferla, a DACA Dreamer who was brought here illegally as a child by her mother in the hopes of seeking a better life.
“In El Paso she was a waitress, a cook, a dishwasher a caregiver, a school crossing guard – you name it,” Ferla said. “She was everything and anything she needed to be proudly so that I could be provided with a normal childhood despite being undocumented. […]So when this man (Trump), comes into mine, yours and our community, to tell us everything like lies and hate – I am reminded of the root of my power – my mother’s love. My mother’s dreams. And together in comunidad we have the power to also fight back – because when they hurt one of us – they hurt all of us.”
With the crowd pumped, event speakers led the march down Delta Drive, and into Chalio Acosta Park where mariachis and several other musicians welcomed the large crowd. Then, O’Rourke took the stage.
“The city has been one of the safest in the United States of America,” He said. “For 20 years and counting it was safe long before a wall was built here in 2008. In fact, a little less safe after the wall was built. We can show, as we make our stand here together tonight, that walls do not make us safer. Walls will require us to take someone’s property – their house, their farm, their ranch. We know that walls do not save lives. Walls end lives.”
In his speech, O’Rourke mentioned the history of El Paso, including the story of Thelma White, who was denied admission into Texas Western University in 1954 because she was black. White hired attorney Thurgood Marshall, and in 1955 U.S. District Judge R.E. Thomason ruled in favor or white, allowing her and in turn – other black students admission to higher education in El Paso.
O’Rouke told the story of the 1949 Bowie Bears Baseball Team who won the championship in Austin after witnessing racism at the hotels and restaurants; He told the story of World War I Veteran Marcelino Serna, a U.S. Army Pvt, who became a U.S. citizen in 1924.
Serna was the first Hispanic to be awarded the Distinguished Service Cross. The port of entry between Tornillo and Guadalupe Mexico was named in his honor. O’Rourke then pointed to the park across the way, named after the World War II Veterans Company E – many of them who were seniors from Bowie High school who served in France, Italy and North Africa.
“Here in the largest bi-national community, in the western hemisphere, 2.5 million people; two countries; speaking two languages and two cultures and two histories – who come together and are joined – not separated – by the Rio Grande River. We are forming something far greater and more powerful than the sum of people; or the sum of our parts. We have so much to give and so much to show the rest of the country and we are doing it right now.”
Just after 7 p.m., through gusts of wind, President Trump’s introductory song, the Rolling Stone’s, “Sympathy for the Devil,” could be heard. It was followed by Trump’s voice that echoed and the cheers and shouts could be heard from the inside the El Paso County Coliseum just a short distance away.
O’Rourke and march supporters were not deterred as they cheered and chanted, “Si se Puede,” and “Beto! Beto!” and “USA! USA!” O’Rourke then called for immigration reform to include safety for asylum seekers, citizenship for Dreamers and their parents, investment in better infrastructure for the personnel and the ports of entry.
Both the march and the rally come days after President Trump incorrectly claimed during the State of the Union on February 7, after it was delayed a week due to the Government shutdown, that El Paso was considered at one point, “one of our Nation’s most dangerous cities” and that the Border Wall El Paso was now one of the safest cities in nation.
The border wall that Trump referred to as a recent barrier in his State of the Union, was a bipartisan decision made in 2006, during the George W. Bush Administration.
The Secure Fence Act of 2006 replaced wired fencing along Tecate and Calexico, California; Douglas, Ariz., Columbus, New Mexico to ten miles east of El Paso, Texas; and Del Rio, Texas to five miles southeast of Eagle Pass, Texas; and 15 miles northwest of Laredo, Texas to Brownsville Texas.
The act also called for ground-sensors, satellites, radar coverage and additional means of technology with the use of more effective personnel along the southern border.
Additionally, El Paso was considered among the safest cities in the nation prior to the implementation of the Secure Fence Act according to FBI crime statistics.
Photos by author & Steven Cottingham – El Paso Herald Post
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