El Paso replied.
"Walls have nothing to do with it," El Paso Congressman Beto O'Rourke tweeted back, less than an hour after Sanders' message. "We’ve been ranked 1st, 2nd or 3rd safest city for last 20 years, including before any wall. In addition to great law enforcement, our safety is connected to the fact that we are a city of immigrants. We treat each other with respect & dignity."
El Paso native O'Rourke, the Democrat running against Senator Ted Cruz in 2018's Senate race, has often credited the strong relationship between El Paso and Juárez's law enforcement agencies for keeping the multi-state community safe.
Sanders may have been referencing the Juárez of 2010 in her tweet. That's when the city's cartel-related violence reached jaw-dropping heights with 3,057 murders in one year. Five years later, that number had dropped to 312, making the Mexico city safer than Baltimore or New Orleans. Hell, even Pope Francis believed it was safe enough to visit in 2016. In 2011, Juarez was ranked the second most dangerous city in the world by a Mexican criminal justice think tank. In 2017, it had dropped to 37th.
O'Rourke's response to Sanders compelled other El Pasoans to chime in on Twitter:
My family lives both in El Paso, TX and Juárez, Mexico, and a wall had nothing to do with security. We are sister cities, and we treat each other with dignity.— E Elt (@peanut29e17) January 16, 2018
No, we don’t need a wall - El Paso https://t.co/hWi45bCOFc— Edward0️⃣5️⃣ (@egaribay05) January 17, 2018
El Paso was safe before that abomination and El Paso remains safe after. It’s not the wall, it’s the people. Ms. Sanders, you disrespect my city with your ignorance. https://t.co/2H3AV5iu7h— Erika (@_Ewika) January 16, 2018
The El Paso Times went a step further Tuesday, reaching out to other local officials for their take.
This such gross propaganda being pushed by the WH. 9 of Texas's 13 border counties went blue. El Paso became safe long before a wall, and it's home to thousands of dreamers and Hispanic folks. https://t.co/KCujrZDxrt— Isaac Saul (@Ike_Saul) January 17, 2018
State Rep. Cesar Blanco, who represents El Paso, told the Times: “At the end of the day, it’s people that keep communities safe, not physical barriers.”