EL PASO, Texas (AP)– President Donald Trump went to Texas to press his immigration policies however turned initially to buffooning Beto O’Rourke, the previous Democratic congressman from Texas now mulling a presidential run, as the 2 held dueling rallies in El Paso on Monday night.

In a case of pointed political counterprogramming, O’Rourke held a night march versus the wall with lots of local civic, human rights and Hispanic groups, followed by a demonstration rally attended by thousands on a ball park across street from the arena where Trump was holding a rally to make his case for the border wall.

Buffooning O’Rourke’s crowds as smaller sized than his, Trump predicted: “That may be the end of his governmental quote.”

The first dueling rallies of the 2020 election season were set to work as a sneak peek of a heated yearslong battle over the instructions of the country. And they explained that Trump’s long-promised border wall makes sure to play an outsized role in the presidential race, as both sides use it to try to rally their advocates and highlight their contrasting techniques.

” With the eyes of the nation upon us, all of us together are going to make our stand here in among the best cities in America,” O’Rourke said as music and cheers from Trump’s rally roared onto the field. “Safe not because of walls but in spite of walls.”

A half-hour into his own rally, nevertheless, Trump had rarely mentioned migration, offering simply a passing recommendation that those shouting “Construct the Wall” switch to “End up the Wall.”

On the other hand, mediators on Capitol Hill revealed that legislators had reached an agreement in concept to money the government ahead of a midnight Friday deadline to avoid another shutdown. The emerging agreement was revealed by a group of lawmakers, consisting of Republican Sen. Richard Shelby and Democratic Rep. Nita Lowey, after a closed-door meeting.

Three people knowledgeable about Congress’ tentative border security deal have actually told The Associated Press that the accord would provide $1.375 billion to develop 55 miles (90 kilometers) of brand-new border barriers– well listed below the $5.7 billion that Trump required to develop over 200 miles (320 kilometers) of wall along the Mexican border. The loan will be for vertical steel slats called bollards, not a solid wall.

The talks had cratered over the weekend because of Democratic needs to limit immigrant detentions by federal authorities, but lawmakers obviously broke through that impasse Monday evening. Now they will need the support of Trump, who should sign the legislation.

Trump has actually firmly insisted that big portions of the wall are already underway. But the work focuses practically totally on changing existing barriers. Deal with the first extension– 14 miles (23 kilometers) in Texas’ Rio Grande Valley– starts this month. The other 83 miles (134 kilometers) that his administration has actually awarded agreements for are replacement jobs.

Trump has actually repeatedly pointed to El Paso to make his case that a border wall is required, declaring that barriers turned the city from among the country’s most unsafe to one of its best. But that’s not true.

El Paso had a murder rate of less than half the nationwide average in 2005, a year before the most current growth of its border fence. That’s despite being simply across the border from Ciudad Juarez, Mexico, a city plagued by drug violence. The FBI’s Uniform Crime Report reveals that El Paso’s yearly variety of reported violent criminal offenses dropped from nearly 5,000 in 1995 to around 2,700 in2016 But that corresponded with similar decreases in violent criminal activity nationwide and included durations when the city’s criminal offense rates increased year over year, regardless of new fencing and walls.

The Trump campaign launched a video showing El Paso homeowners stating the wall assisted minimize criminal activity. But many in the city have actually bristled at the possibility of becoming a border wall poster kid.

That includes O’Rourke, a potential 2020 prospect, who came close to unseating Sen. Ted Cruz in 2018 and keeps an army of small-dollar donors and a large social networks following. While few Democratic prospects have actually concentrated on migration in their launches, O’Rourke has actually explained Trump’s calls for the wall as the “negative rhetoric of war, of invasions, of fear.”

The El Paso rally is Trump’s first because the November midterm elections and comes at a precarious minute for his presidency. Weakened by the longest government shutdown in American history, Trump is likewise contending with the continuous examination into Russian election meddling and a flurry of examinations by recently empowered bulk Democrats in your home.

Trump advisers have long insisted that, fulfilled or not, the wall is a winning problem for the president, who has already sought to reword the “Build the Wall” chants that were a staple of his 2016 project to “End up the Wall.”

An AP-NORC survey performed during last month’s shutdown discovered that more Americans oppose a wall than support it. However nearly 8 in 10 Republicans are in favor, with just about 1 in 10 opposed.

Democrats, meanwhile, are determined that Trump’s persistence on a wall helps them and indicate their 2018 midterm election gains in the Home as proof that voters desire to obstruct Trump’s program.


Associated Press writers Alan Fram, Zeke Miller and Kevin Freking in Washington and Elliot Spagat in San Diego contributed to this report.

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