Cline talks immigration, Interstate 81 at Augusta County town hall

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AUGUSTA COUNTY, Va. (WHSV)— On Tuesday, Congressman Ben Cline, R-Va., held a town hall in Augusta County.

Dozens attend Congressman Ben Cline's town hall in Augusta County. | WHSV

Dozens of people came out to the meeting to speak with Rep. Cline about different issues, including gun control, immigration, social security and improving Interstate 81.

Several people wanted to know what could be done to improve the interstate. Cline said long-term, he thought there needed to be another lane added, and he also supports improving the rail infrastructure. In terms of federal funds, he said there are limited options.

"I think the chances of an infrastructure bill this year are diminishing," Cline said. "And we're more likely to get [Interstate] 81 included as a priority in a six-year transportation bill."

However, Cline said they would only be able to add individual projects to the bill if the speaker allows it, and that hasn't happened for more than 20 years.

Immigration was also a major topic of discussion at the town hall. Many wanted to know Cline's thoughts on border conditions, and what he would do to fix the issues.

Cline said he has thought there has been a crisis at the border for months and has been working to get something done to improve conditions. Cline said the conditions were bad because those facilities were not meant to hold that many people. He said he also wants to change the law so families are allowed to remain together.

"I've cosponsored legislation introduced by the number one Republican on judiciary, Doug Collins, to make those changes," he said, "so family separations don't occur through a conflicting of the laws."

There were also local concerns brought up as well.

"As locally, the I-81, broadband and gun issues, it's all goes hand in hand with what's going on in today's world," said Michael Shull, who lives in Augusta County.

Brandy Hatcher, who came to speak with Cline about religious and medical exemptions for vaccinations, said she was happy he came to the area in person.

"I think when they come in person. It feels like it's more personable to the community," Hatcher said. "It feels like they actually care about the concerns of the community."

Cline said he would take all the suggestions and discussions back to Washington, D.C., and use them to help people locally in his district and incorporate them into legislation.