A Republican congressman said he believes Americans would accept the illegal immigrants in the country already as long as the administration gets serious about border security.

Rep. Raul Labrador (R-Idaho), who unsuccessfully ran for majority leader as a conservative alternative to Rep. Kevin McCarthy (R-Calif.), said the administration can’t use the excuse of violence in Central America as the reason so many unaccompanied children are being sent to the border.

“The reality is that the violence that existed in the Central American country is for a long period time. The level of poverty has existed in the Central American countries over a long period of time,” Labrador told NBC on Sunday.

“But it’s over the last few years that you have seen an increase in the number of children coming to the United States… The administration estimates are that it’s going to be about 60,000 to 90,000 this year. It’s going to increase 150,000 to 200,000 next year.”

Now, the congressman noted, the White House is sending administration officials on TV to “say they are doing everything they can to stem the flow but that their number one priority is to actually make sure we do right by these children.”

“The thing this administration needs to do is immediately deport these families, these children. I know it sounds harsh, I know it sounds difficult, but they are creating a crisis at this time that’s actually going to harm these children,” Labrador said.

Labrador was part of last year’s Group of Eight immigration negotiators, which also included Reps. Xavier Becerra (D-Calif.), John Carter (R-Texas), Mario Diaz-Balart (R-Fla.), Luis Gutierrez (D-Ill.), Sam Johnson (R-Texas), Zoe Lofgren (D-Calif.), and John Yarmuth (D-Ky.).

“These children, as your own reporting says, these children are going to come through the border. They are going to come from Central America. Many of them are being raped, many of them are being harmed. This is an outrageous thing that is happening to these children. We need to take a strong stand against what’s happening and against these illegal cartels,” Labrador continued.

He was asked whether there was a solution not focusing on deportation that included illegal immigrants already in this country.

“You know, Americans are great people. I think they’re willing to deal with the 11 million people if we feel that there’s going to be border security. Right now the frustration you see in Murrieta, the frustration you see all throughout the United States, is because they feel that this administration is doing nothing about border security,” Labrador said, referencing the buses carrying illegal immigrants that were stopped by a crowd of residents in a Southern California town.

“If we can feel safe in our homes, if we can’t feel safe in our homeland, if we can feel that we can actually are to be able to stem the flow of immigration, I think the American people are very nice people.”

DHS Secretary Jeh Johnson, though, said he didn’t think the protest in Murrieta reflected the feelings of the Riverside County city of 100,000.

“I look at it, and it is unfortunate to see that type of hostility directed at women and children on a bus, frankly. I do not believe that that band of individuals that you showed in your lead-in reflects Murrieta, California and it certainly does not reflect the response we’ve seen across the southwest in general,” Johnson told Meet the Press.

“The broader response across the southwest has been very different in places like McAllen, Texas; Nogales, Arizona where the city governments, the population at large, faith-based organizations have really stepped up to support the border patrol to do the humanitarian thing here,” he added. “The media is focused on that band of individuals in Murrieta, California. I don’t think that even reflects the sentiment in Murrieta, frankly.”