House Homeland Security Committee Chairman Michael McCaul (R-Texas) said Sunday that it was "heartbreaking" to see unaccompanied immigrant children held at border detention centers, but also that some of the older children "looked like a threat."
Speaking on "Fox News Sunday," McCaul expressed sympathy for some of the immigrants, while also taking a swipe at President Barack Obama.
"Unlike the president, I was down there, on the border, I saw these children," McCaul said. "It’s very heart-wrenching as a father to see that -- mothers with their babies."
But McCaul also said that he "saw some 17-year-olds that I thought looked more like a threat coming into the United States."
The past several months have seen a surge of immigrants from Central American nations crossing into the U.S. along the southern border. Because of a 2008 law intended to help victims of child trafficking, children from nations other than Mexico who enter the country illegally are entitled to an immigration hearing -- a process that can take years to wind through backlogged courts.
McCaul said he believed it should be easier to deport immigrants to Central American countries, and added that a policy of "deterrence" could "protect and save these children."