Across the Divide

The disparities between El Paso and its Mexican sister city, Juárez, dramatize the importance of the rule of law.

Last year, 17 people were murdered in the Texas border city of El Paso—a strikingly low number for a city of 830,000. But the number was in keeping with a trend: from 2008 to 2012, El Paso was deemed the safest city in the United States for its size. The reality might seem surprising, given that the city is relatively poor, with a median household income of $40,800 (national average: $53,500) and a poverty rate of 23.4 percent (national average: 15.6 percent), and with a high population of immigrants. Only 21 percent of the community has a college degree, compared with 29 percent nationwide.