By Julian Hattem - 02/11/16 07:01 AM EST
The head of the House Homeland Security Committee is insisting that it is "very pro-American" to erect barriers to Syrian refugees coming in an effort to save lives.
“I think it’s very pro-American to protect American lives,” Rep. Michael McCaul (R-Texas) said in an interview with HBO’s "Vice" set to air later this week.
“If we don’t do this right, Americans could die. And that’s what we’re trying to stop.”
McCaul has been a forceful supporter of imposing new hurdles for migrants fleeing the chaos in Syria and coming to the U.S. Nearly 300,000 people are believed to have died in the nearly five-year civil war, which has forced 4 million people out of the country.
Neighboring countries in the Middle East have taken much of the strain of the refugee crisis, which has also encroached into Europe.
Fewer than 3,000 refugees have come to the U.S., but President Obama has pushed for the U.S. to allow 10,000 refugees from the crisis to come to the country.
However, critics of the refugee program in the U.S. have worried about the potential for extremist militants to use it to enter the country. Those concerns heightened last year, when evidence emerged that some of the perpetrators of the terror attack in Paris had disguised themselves as refugees.
In November, the House voted to place new limits on Syrian and Iraqi refugees heading to the country. The legislation would require that federal officials certify that the migrants are safe before they are allowed to enter the U.S.
The bill stalled in the Senate earlier this year.
The “Vice” episode on the refugee crisis airs Friday evening at 11 p.m. EST.