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U.S. Rep. Bryan Steil

U.S. Rep. Bryan Steil, R-Wis., speaks to The Journal Times Editorial Board on Friday about President Trump's veto of legislation challenging his national emergency declaration calling for the use federal funds to build a border security wall. 

RACINE — U.S. Rep. Bryan Steil, R-Wis., was not surprised when he heard on Friday that President Donald Trump vetoed the bill that would terminate his declaration of a national emergency on the southern border.

Steil, who represents the 1st Congressional District in Congress, voted against the legislation to terminate the national emergency and thought Trump’s allocation of funds for a border wall was appropriate.

Now, it will be up to the House and Senate to decide whether to try to override the veto by passing the legislation with a two-thirds majority.

“My vote won’t change,” said Steil, whose district includes all of Racine County. “My guess is it will pass the House but (the vote is) below a veto proof threshold (in the Senate).”

Steil was speaking to The Journal Times Editorial Board on Friday when news of the veto broke.

Despite agreeing with Trump on the issue of migrants on the southern border, Steil said he does believe that the National Emergencies Act, which gives the president the power during a crisis, “should be reviewed” and Congress “should take back a lot of that power.”

“I’m in the process of digging through the legal structure with a few colleagues,” Steil said. “You also don’t want to bring it back to zero because there are instances where that is the right delegation (of power) from Congress to the president.”

Steil said bills are being drafted in regard to the National Emergency Act.

Coming to America

The issue of families crossing through the southern border is something Steil calls a “humanitarian crisis emergency.”

“Families are coming across, they’re being trafficked by coyotes,” Steil said. “There’s a real serious human side of this that they’re not addressing.”

Steil said there is a “push-pull factor” when it comes to the motivations of people coming to the United States that are as old as the country itself.

“There are reasons why many of these individuals are leaving their home,” Steil said, adding that it’s possible his Irish descendants might not have come to the U.S. if things had been better in their homeland.

“But for a food famine, my guess is great-great-grandpa Fallen might not have left Ireland,” Steil said. “I think there’s a real opportunity to have a thoughtful approach to how we address some of the security concerns that we’re seeing in a small number of Central American countries.”

The rhetoric on immigration, particularly when it comes to a border wall, is being lost in the conversation Steil said.

“The linear focus on the wall doesn’t solve the whole problem,” Steil said. “The wall is a piece of a broader puzzle. That broader puzzle involves technology, it involves manpower and physical structures in critical areas. So I think we need to have a broader conversation in a nonpartisan way where we bring the temperature of the room down and discuss how we’re going to gain strategic control of the southern border.”

“I think we need to have a broader conversation in a nonpartisan way where we bring the temperature of the room down and discuss how we’re going to gain strategic control of the southern border.” U.S. Rep. Bryan Steil, R-Wis.

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Reporter

Ricardo Torres covers federal, state and Racine County politics along with the Village of Mount Pleasant. He bleeds Wisconsin sports teams.

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