Texas’ lieutenant governor said if it wasn’t for the border wall, people would be decapitated and their heads would roll down the streets

A new section of border fence can be seen from atop the Puente Internacional Lerdo Stanton Bridge, in El Paso, Texas on November 5, 2018. Agence France-Presse/Paul Ratje via Getty Images
  • Texas Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick said on Fox News that the border fence in El Paso, Texas, prevented decapitations and heads being rolled down pool halls.
  • He cited a number of bizarre and grisly instances of violence that had occurred in the neighbouring border city of Juarez, Mexico – some verifiable, some not.
  • Though Juarez’s violent crime rate is a well-documented issue, data show that the bloodshed rarely spilled over into El Paso, even before the border fence was built.

Texas Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick warned on Monday that a series of gruesome fates would have befallen the residents of El Paso, Texas, if it weren’t for the border fence that was constructed nearly a decade ago.

During a Fox News discussion after President Donald Trump held a rally in El Paso to shore up support for his long-promised border wall, Patrick cited a number of bizarre and grisly instances of violence that had occurred in the neighbouring border city of Juarez, Mexico.

“If this fence were not here, that violence – of decapitating people, of hanging people from bridges, of cutting off their heads and rolling them in pool halls and down the streets – that violence would be here in El Paso,” Patrick said.

He added that some 1,100 homicides occurred in Juarez in 2018, compared to just 23 in El Paso.

Read more: Trump’s staunchest allies are already bashing the ‘garbage’ bipartisan border deal that could stave off another government shutdown

Patrick was correct that Juarez has long been plagued by drug- and gang-fuelled violence, and that decapitations have occurred there. In one particularly shocking 2008 murder, a man was found beheaded and his corpse was strung up from an overpass.

But it was not immediately clear whether Patrick’s reference to heads rolling down pool halls was based on actual incidents. It’s possible Patrick was referring, instead, to a recent shooting at a Juarez pool hall that left five people dead in December 2018.

Yet critics of the border wall have pointed out that the bloodshed has long been occurring in Juarez without spilling over into El Paso – regardless of the border barrier there. Even the 2008 beheading and hanging occurred two years before before the El Paso border fencing was completed.

And though Trump has insisted in recent weeks that El Paso’s crime rate dropped after the border wall was built, data show that the city’s violent crime rate dropped by 34% in the mid 1990s and early 2000s- more than a decade years before fencing construction began.

El Paso’s mayor, Dee Margo, has spoken out in recent weeks to correct the misconception of El Paso as a formerly crime-ridden city.

“El Paso was NEVER one of the MOST dangerous cities in the US,” he tweeted on February 5. “We’ve had a fence for 10 years and it has impacted illegal immigration and curbed criminal activity. It is NOT the sole deterrent. Law enforcement in our community continues to keep us safe.”

When another Fox News panelist pointed out Margo’s comments about the crime rates to Patrick, the lieutenant governor said that was besides the point.

“I’m not talking about that,” he said. “I’m talking about today … Get in today’s time.”