Voter Intimidation? Border Patrol to Hold Crowd Control Exercises in Hispanic Town on Election Day
Yesterday afternoon, Donald Trump posted a tweet that could be construed as an attempt at voter intimidation. Today, the US Border Patrol will be holding a mobile field exercise just a 1/2 mile from a polling place in a largely Hispanic neighborhood.
The exercise will occur in El Paso, the hometown of Senate candidate Beto O’Rourke (D). O’Rourke is locked in a very tight battle with Republican incumbent Ted Cruz.
This has largely been seen as another attempt at voter intimidation. El Paso is located along the Texas/Mexican border and the community is made up of many recent immigrants.
The Border Patrol has attempted to paint the drills as planning exercises for the migrant caravan. According to Roger Meier from Customs Protection, “Our preparations are ongoing. There is no link to the election date.”
Democrats are finding these excuses as hard to swallow. When asked about the exercises, O’Rourke replied, “No walls, no CBP exercises (are) going to keep us from honoring our laws, our commitments. Why this is happening now, why the president is stirring these issues up at this moment with 24 hours before we decide this election, I’ll leave that to you to conclude.”
O’Rourke was not the only Democrat to take issue with the border patrol’s plans. Congressman Joaqin Castro who co-chairs the Congressional Hispanic Caucus said, “I’m at a loss to understand why they would do that on Election Day. Without hearing the justification for it, I don’t know why you would do it on Election Day anywhere in Texas. It seems very strange.”
Texas, long a Republican stronghold, has some very competitive races thanks in part to the changing demographics of the state. The O’Rourke/Cruz battle is the most prominent with Fivethirtyeight.com giving O’Rourke around a 20% chance of winning.
Lizzie Pannill-Fletcher and Colin Allred are also considered to be candidates who can unseat Republicans. The Democrat’s hope is that O’Rourke’s popularity will help to pull congressional candidates over the line.