By Mike Lillis
The Obama administration should "immediately deport" the children and families amassing at the southern border, Rep. Raúl Labrador (R-Idaho) argued Sunday.
But Labrador, who was a part of the bipartisan group that failed to negotiate an immigration reform package last year, suggested the solution lies in an expedited process.
"The thing this administration needs to do is immediately deport these families, these children," Labrador said on NBC's "Meet the Press" program. "I know it sounds harsh. I know it sounds difficult, but they're creating a crisis."
President Obama and the Democrats have argued the spike in border crossings — many by unaccompanied minors — is the result of deteriorating conditions in Central America. But Labrador, joining a chorus of other GOP critics, blamed Obama's deferred action program for encouraging the migration.
"The violence has existed in these Central American countries for a long period of time. The level of poverty has existed in these Central American countries for a long period of time," he said. "But it's over these last two years that you have seen an increase in the number of children coming to the United States."
By deporting the migrants immediately, Labrador said, Obama would not only send a signal that they don't qualify for the deferred action program, but also discourage others from making the perilous trip.
"These children are going to come to the border; they're going to come from Central America. Many of them are being raped. Many of them are being harmed," he said. "This is an outrageous thing that's happening to these children, and we need to actually take a strong stand against what's happening."
Appearing on the same program, Homeland Security Secretary Jeh Johnson said the administration is making progress by taking on criminal smugglers, expanding detention space and expediting processing times.
"I believe we will stem this tide," Johnson said.
Labrador, however, is hardly convinced.
"He made up a lot of different things," Labrador said.