The solution to illegal immigration resides in the enforcement of laws already in the books says Rep. Lamar Smith, one of legislators expected to set the immigration debate in the next Congress.

"Voters sent many pro-enforcement candidates to the House and Senate because they are tired of the failed immigration policies of the current administration," Smith said.

Advocates of comprehensive immigration reform called Smith’s comments chilling, and say they confirm the hard line on immigration that many of them fear is looming in a Republican-controlled House of Representatives.

Amy Gottlieb, program director of the immigrant rights program of the American Friends Service Committee for the New York metropolitan region, said: “His comments are truly sad. They fundamentally disregard why people come here, and they’re part of families and communities here.”