Republican Rep. John Carter of Texas suggested in a Congressional hearing on Thursday that human traffickers were targeting immigrant children based on their attractiveness.
"Believe me, a lot of attractive children are not making it to the border," Carter said as an aside during a hearing about U.S. immigration policies and border agencies, CNN reported.
Carter made the comment during a conversation with fellow Texas Rep. John Culberson, who was asking the panel questions about asylum laws and other policies designated to protect children and families when they cross the border into the U.S. while they await a decision about whether they can stay.
Culberson said many Central Americans put their lives in danger by making the journey to the U.S. and suggested the asylum laws serve as a "magnet" for them.
Many immigrants aiming to cross the southern border to get to the U.S. often have to pay smugglers to help them get through various checkpoints. The cartel that control the smuggling networks often exploit and assault the migrants on their journey.