WASHINGTON — Donald Trump carried the largely suburban Waukesha County in 2016, when he won the presidency, and again four years later, when he lost it.

Dennis Lafratta said he is eager to vote for Trump again, so he can re-instate his hardline immigration policies.

What You Need To Know

  • The White House said funding for Ukraine will run out by the end of the year

  • Republicans said any new aid should be tied to border security measures

  • Congress leaves for holiday break at the end of next week

  • The Senate is likely going to take up the Ukraine funding bill on Wednesday

“Finish the wall,” Lafratta said. “Make it easier to look at each individual that comes across, not a busload at a time, and not knowing who’s coming across. Each individual should be vetted.” 

Lafratta said this is the issue he cares most about going into next year’s election, even though the state is about 1,500 miles away from the southern border.

His words echoed those of Republicans in Congress, who have made the border one of their top issues heading into next year’s campaign.  

“Our open border — Biden’s open border — is a clear and present danger to America,” Sen. Ron Johnson, R-Wis., said last week.  

Johnson said the one leverage point Republicans have to push President Joe Biden toward reducing illegal border crossings is by linking aid for Ukraine and Israel to new border controls.

The White House said it’ll run out of funding for Ukraine at the end of the year, but Johnson said more money should be contingent on metrics showing a decrease in border crossings. 

“We need to be more concerned about securing our own border, protecting our own citizens, our own homeland, before we provide $60 billion of funding for Ukraine,” Johnson said. 

One expert said talking about illegal immigration is smart politics for Republicans no matter how far they are from the southern border.

“When we come back to the southern border and illegal crossings there, big majorities favor increased enforcement there,” said Charles Franklin, a professor of law and public policy at Marquette University. “And so if you’re a Republican member of the House or of the Senate, you can be aligned with your party, aligned with the Trump positions on this, and very strongly supported by your party base.” 

Jerald Podair, a professor at Lawrence University, described the border as a “visceral” issue for Republican voters, whether or not they support Trump. 

“This is not Texas. This is not Arizona. This is not California. We’re not right on the border here, but it still is an emotional issue for them,” Podair said. “So if you’re a Republican candidate, you’re a Republican officeholder, it helps you politically — whether you’re a Trump [supporter] or non-Trump or anti-Trump — to emphasize this issue. It is a winning issue for you.” 

Congress leaves for holiday break at the end of next week. Democrats blame Republicans for keeping the funding bill on ice and refusing to meet them in the middle on immigration reform. 

“The president’s supplemental proposal puts money directly towards vetting asylum claims, reducing court backlog, stopping fentanyl, which is exactly what our Republican colleagues say they want. But instead of meeting us in the middle, Republicans have tripled down on extremist policies that seem dictated by Donald Trump and Stephen Miller,” said Sen. Chuck Schumer, D-New York. 

Other members of the Wisconsin delegation weighed in.

Sen. Tammy Baldwin, D-Wis., wrote in a statement to Spectrum News that the immigration system is “broken.” 

“We need to secure our border to ensure dangerous drugs like fentanyl cannot come into our country, and I’m committed to being part of the solution,” she continued. “I welcome a bipartisan compromise that will help fix our immigration system, invest in border security, and stop the flow of fentanyl from pouring into Wisconsin.”

Over in the House, Rep. Gwen Moore, D-Milwaukee, said it’s critical for Congress to fulfill the president’s request for emergency funding.

“This vital aid shouldn’t be used as leverage for a partisan immigration agenda that cannot advance on its own,” she wrote in part. 

The Senate is expected to take up the Ukraine funding bill on Wednesday. 


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