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Republican state lawmakers call on Tony Evers, federal government to help secure southern border

Republican state lawmakers call on Tony Evers, federal government to help secure southern border

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Steineke and August

Reps. Tyler August, R-Lake Geneva, and Jim Steineke, R-Kaukauna, speak at a press conference about the southern border crisis on May 4, 2021.

Republican lawmakers on Tuesday called on President Joe Biden's  administration and Gov. Tony Evers to take more action to help secure the nation's southern border after visiting the Del Rio sector of the U.S.-Mexico border in Texas.

Assembly Majority Leader Jim Steineke, R-Kaukauna, and Rep. Tyler August, R-Lake Geneva, called on Biden and Vice President Kamala Harris, who is visiting Milwaukee Tuesday, to visit the border and sent more help to U.S. Border Patrol agents dealing with the current influx of migrants at the southern border. Biden has tasked Harris with addressing the border crisis.

They also called on Evers to work with border states, such as Texas, to send whatever aid they may need to address the influx of migrants, including National Guard troops. 

"Today we are calling on Governor Evers to step up and support the people of Texas and other border states by sending whatever assistance we are able to send," the Republicans wrote in a letter to Harris. "We are also calling on you and the President to step up and do your job. Send our brave men and women of the border patrol some help. There is no more critical role that you have than protecting the people of this country from invasion. It’s well beyond time that you understand the seriousness of that responsibility."

Republicans said they will author a resolution asking Evers to send aid to the southern border. 

While Texas hasn't asked for Wisconsin to send troops, such action wouldn't be unprecedented. In 2018, former Republican Gov. Scott Walker sent dozens of Wisconsin National Guard troops to 

Harris is visiting Milwaukee on Tuesday where she is expected to discuss the Biden administration's proposed $2 trillion infrastructure bill. Republicans said they appreciate her visiting Wisconsin but said they want her to address more important issues, the border chief among them, first. 

Steineke and August said they were invited to tour the border by the conservative Texas Public Policy Foundation. They said the trip didn't cost any state taxpayer dollars, but that they two instead used campaign and personal funds. 

In Texas, Steineke and August met with Val Verde County Sheriff Joe Frank Martinez, a Democrat; Texas Border Sheriff's Coalition executive director Clint McDonald; officials from the U.S. Border Patrol and U.S. Customs and Border Protection; and dozens of local land owners around Comstock, Texas. 

They said the experience on the border was "shocking" and that the locals they talked to had indicated the Biden administration hadn't taken any meaningful action to stem the migrant crisis. 

Local officials told them that in March, 170,000 migrants crossed into the U.S. illegally and that the border crossings had put a significant strain on Border Patrol agents and local law enforcement and that ranchers in and around Comstock, Texas fear for their safety.

Editor's note: A previous version of this story misidentified Clint McDonald’s position. McDonald is executive director of the Texas Border Sheriff’s Coalition.


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