Congress should act on the immigration crisis on the southern border before its August recess, says Rep. Mike McCaul of Texas, chairman of House Homeland Security Committee.
"I think we have to act soon," McCaul said on "Fox News Sunday."
President Barack Obama has proposed a $3.7 billion bill to alleviate the overtaxed Border Patrol, which is handling an influx of children crossing the border alone from Central America. Republicans, such as McCaul, say the bill's $221 million for border security isn't enough.
McCaul says he has his own border security bill he wants included in a "targeted appropriations bill." The bill would be limited to the end of this year, he said.
"I think we have to deal with this in a humane, compassionate way, but I'm not in favor of building big warehouses in the United States to warehouse these kids," McCaul said. "I think we need to have deterrence."
If large facilities are built, he said, he would prefer to see them in the children's countries of origin, which have better means to return them home.
Parents in El Salvador, Guatemala and Honduras are paying drug cartels thousands of dollars to smuggle their children through Mexico and into the United States, exploiting a 2008 law that prevents immediate deportation of children from countries that don't border the United States.
Republicans want the law changed so that only children who have legitimate asylum requests are not immediately sent to their home countries.
McCaul said he has visited the border and saw some heartbreaking stories of young children and their mothers.
"I also saw some 17-year-olds who I thought looked more like a threat," he said.
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