Immigration, highway funding continue to be hot topics for Graves

U.S. Congressman Sam Graves of Missouri hosts a town hall meeting in Greentop (KTVO)

U.S. Representative Sam Graves of Missouri (R), made a stop in the small town of Greentop Tuesday morning.

There, the Congressman hosted a town hall meeting to hear the concerns and interests of those living in northeast Missouri. Graves said he enjoys having face-to-face discussions with people about topics that impact the country as a whole.

One town hall discussion focused on illegal immigration. Graves said almost 13 million illegal immigrants are living in the country and utilizing welfare benefits.

He says it's time for the federal government and the Obama Administration to address what he refers to as a 'matter of national security'.

"We need to find them and send them back. Not give them a court date and expect them to show up. That's the frustrating thing: illegal immigration is just that, it's illegal. The federal government needs to recognize that."

Graves added that he has also been pressing the Department of Homeland Security to enforce visa laws and that he will continue to do so. Earlier this year, U.S. Congress members estimated that as many as 40 percent of people living in America illegally are here on expired visas.

In addition to discussing immigration, the Congressman also touted his efforts to secure more money to go towards road improvements in the state of Missouri. Graves, who serves as the Chairman of the House Subcommittee on Highway and Transit helped write and pass a federal highway bill.

That measure passed at the end of 2015, was the first long-term bill agreed upon by Congress in the past 10 years. Graves says thanks to that bill, money will be filtered down to the state of Missouri to help fund a number of transportation projects.

"We've got extra money. I was able to secure about $450 million more dollars in this highway bill for the state than what we had before. There is a little extra money."

Graves said the money will go towards expanding lanes, filling potholes and rebuilding bridges. The highway bill has a lifespan of 5 years.

When Congress reconvenes after its summer break, Graves says it will continue to look for ways to gather more income to put towards road projects. He says many state and local governments continue to rely on funding from the gas tax.

Graves adds that because gasoline use has declined as cars have become more fuel efficient, the policy must change as well.

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