Anchored by Jake Tapper, The Lead airs at 4 p.m. ET on CNN.
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Washington (CNN) – The chair of the House Homeland Committee is joining a chorus of Republicans calling for a reevaluation of a 2008 law signed by President George W. Bush that requires deportation hearings before sending back children from countries that do not border the United States.
"It had unintended consequences to legislation. I think you're going to see Congress go back and look at that law, so that when Mexicans cross, they're treated the same as other than Mexicans from Central America," Rep. Michael McCaul, R-Texas, said in an interview with CNN's "The Lead with Jake Tapper."
Tens of thousands of children from Central America have illegally entered the United States in recent months. They are waiting in an overwhelmed immigration system, some in overcrowded holding facilities in the Lone Star State and elsewhere.
If repatriated, many would be returning to violence and poverty in places like Honduras, El Salvador, and Guatemala.
"Most of these little kids, (I'm) very sympathetic," said McCaul. But "I saw some 17-year-olds that didn't look like little kids to me, that quite frankly concern me about them coming into the United States with no education, can't speak English. I'm not sure what they're going to be doing in the United States of America."
"We have to be compassionate and humane in what we do. But we have to send a message of deterrence, otherwise they're going to keep coming," he said.