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Border Patrol postpones exercise after voter intimidation complaints

A U.S. flag hanging on a chain-link fence.
A border fence in El Paso, Texas. Photo: Brendan Smialowski/AFP/Getty Images

The U.S. Border Patrol postponed a scheduled "crowd control" exercise in El Paso, Texas, on Tuesday after complaints that it could intimidate potential voters, BuzzFeed News reports.

The big picture: The "caravan-related exercise" in the hometown of Democratic Senate candidate Beto O'Rourke was set to take place near a neighborhood along the U.S.-Mexico border that is "almost exclusively Hispanic," according to Texas Monthly. Activist groups argued its Election Day timing could dissuade Hispanic voters from going to the polls, while U.S. Customs and Border Protection blamed the postponement on "inaccurate reporting that caused unneeded confusion."

What they're saying:

  • Texas Secretary of State Rolando Pablos told Texas Monthly he's "convinced the exercises aren't getting in the way of Texans going to the polls."
  • O'Rourke said: "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."
  • A CBP spokesperson said in a statement to Axios: "The U.S Border Patrol’s El Paso Sector postponed joint caravan-related exercises on the El Paso border scheduled for today out of an abundance of caution and due to inaccurate reporting that caused unneeded confusion in border communities. We will continue training exercises in the following days, as necessary to ensure border security and the safety of the American people, the traveling public, CBP personnel and the communities in which we serve."
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