‘Border communities are safer than non-border communities,’ Texas congressman says

McALLEN, Texas (Border Report) – A comparison of federal crime data by a South Texas congressman found Texas border communities are safer than most U.S. cities.

U.S. Rep. Henry Cuellar, a Democrat from the border town of Laredo, this week released a report comparing FBI crime data from Fiscal Year 2022 of Texas border towns to other Texas towns, and cities nationwide.

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U.S. Rep. Henry Cuellar, D-Texas. (Courtesy photo)
U.S. Rep. Henry Cuellar, D-Texas. (Courtesy photo)

What he found was Texas border cities – especially those from South Texas – had some of the lowest rates of violent crime that year.

“It shows that non-border community cities have more crime than the border communities,” Cuellar told Border Report on Wednesday. “It’s for murder, and for violent crime, which includes assault, aggravated assault, rape, and you know, all those type of criminal activity. So the bottom line is border communities are safer than non border communities.”

Data found the murder rate in the South Texas border town of Brownsville to be 2.12 per 100,000 people. Other Texas border town murder rates per 100,000 residents were:

  • El Paso: 3.24

  • McAllen: 3.44

  • Laredo: 4.67

  • Rio Grande City: 6.37.

Likewise, Houston had 19 murders per 100,000 people and San Antonio had 15.69.

New Orleans on the other hand had nearly 72 murders per 100,000 – one of the highest murder rates of any large city in the nation.

And Cleveland, Ohio had nearly 40 murders per 100,000.

The national murder rate was 6.3 per 100,000 in 2022, according to the FBI.

(Graphics by U.S. Rep. Cuellar’s Office)
(Graphics by U.S. Rep. Cuellar’s Office)

A comparison of violent crime rates showed Cleveland topped the list with 1,613 violent crimes per 100,000 people; New Orleans had 1,444 incidents per 100,000, and Minneapolis had 1,226.

But Texas border towns were much lower: Brownsville had 432; Laredo 316; El Paso 313; McAllen 195 and Rio Grande City, in Starr County, had 146, Cuellar reported.

The FBI’s Uniform Crime Reporting Program considers violent crimes as murder and non-negligent manslaughter; rape; robbery, and aggravated assault.

The agency released its Fiscal 2022 findings last month, which included over 11 million criminal offenses reported to the Uniform Crime Reporting (UCR) Program.

Cuellar said his report purposely compared data from Republican-led areas, like Minneapolis, Cleveland and Louisiana – where House Speaker Mike Johnson is from – because he said GOP rhetoric in Washington, D.C., and Austin, often portrays the border region as dangerous and chaotic.

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“It’s a narrative that one political party has used at the state and at the national level, where they say that the border is violent. They say that immigrants bring in their drugs. And that narrative is false,” Cuellar told Border Report.

Cuellar is a ranking member of the House Homeland Security Appropriations Subcommittee, and he says that 90 to 95% of drugs – like fentanyl, methamphetamine, cocaine and heroin – comes through U.S. ports of entry and most often by Americans.

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“About 84% of the people that are caught at the ports, or the border checkpoints are U.S. citizens. So the narrative that ‘it’s dangerous,’ and that ‘the migrants are bringing into drugs,’ is a false statement. But that’s a narrative that they keep playing over and over and you see it in their interviews and you serve and certainly see it in their campaign,” he said.

Cuellar says immigration data is another issue and he admits “we have immigration crisis at the border.”

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In Fiscal Year 2023, there were 3.2 million border encounters, up almost 16% from 2.7 million in Fiscal 2022 2022, U.S. Customs and Border Protection reported.

Cuellar says he expects Republicans to reference rising immigration rates on the Southwest border during the third GOP presidential debate Wednesday night in Miami.

But he said he hopes they don’t mislead voters into thinking crime is high at the border.

Sandra Sanchez can be reached at SSanchez@BorderReport.com.

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