GOP mayor of largest American border city slams Trump

Dee Margo: 'We're one bicultural community'

By MELISSA MAHTANI, CNN
Joe Raedle/Getty Images

Protesters walk though the streets as they protest against the Trump administration's immigration policies on June 21, 2018 in El Paso, Texas.

(CNN) - The reality of life on the US-Mexico border is not what President Trump is describing from Washington, according to the mayor of El Paso, Texas.

Dee Margo, a Republican, said there's a vibrant relationship between his city -- the largest on that border -- and Juarez, Mexico.

"We're one binational, bilingual, bicultural community," Margo told CNN's Poppy Harlow on Friday, adding that it was virtually impossible to tell where El Paso ends and Juarez begins.

His comments stand in stark contrast to the views expressed by President Trump about Mexico.

"Mexico is doing nothing for us except taking our money and sending us drugs. They're not sending their finest, that I can tell you. We're sending them back," Trump said in a Cabinet meeting Thursday.

The mayor disagrees.

"No. His rhetoric is not applicable to El Paso or what I observe here," Margo said.

"This is the safest city in the United States," he said. "We have no issues on the criminal side."

"We have families on both sides, commerce takes place on both sides. For every four jobs in the Maquila manufacturing facilities in Juarez, Mexico, there is one job here in El Paso. We have 50,000 employed because of our relationship with Mexico."

Margo said people in Washington who want to talk about the border should come down and actually see it for themselves, adding that "the rhetoric on the wall is ridiculous."

"When I hear 'the wall,' the talk about 'the wall,' I think of the Berlin Wall," he said.

"We have a fence through most of El Paso, that was done during the Bush administration. Works fine."

As for the current immigration crisis sparked by Trump's zero tolerance policy on the border, Margo said "we shouldn't be here."

"The children should not have been separated from their parents," he said.

"It's not what we're about as a nation."

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