WASHINGTON - U.S. Rep. Lou Barletta, R-11, announced Friday he will be heading to the U.S. border with Mexico to attend a field hearing of the House Homeland Security Committee to discuss the "growing crisis" of illegal immigrant children at the border.

Barletta said he will seek answers to questions that raise serious issues of national security, health, and what are apparent human trafficking infractions during his visit Thursday.

"I want to see with my own eyes what is going on," Barletta said in a news release. "I have grave concerns about the risks to our national security resulting from the growing problem of tens of thousands of illegal immigrant children amassing at our southern border. Our border patrol agents, who are already undermanned and stretched thin, are now being tasked with changing diapers, warming formula and babysitting children. Our borders have never been truly secure, but now that our agents are busy essentially running daycare centers, at this moment they are more porous than ever."

Barletta also expressed dismay at the role the federal government has played in the route many children have taken in getting to the border in the first place. It has been reported that drug cartels are involved in arranging transport of children from countries such as Guatemala, Honduras and El Salvador.

"The United States government has become complicit in what amounts to human trafficking," Barletta said. "The drug cartels are charging thousands of dollars per child to transport them more than 1,000 miles to the U.S. border. At that point, American government officials take over and deliver the children to family members elsewhere in the country. That makes our government a participant in the human trafficking transaction, which could include physical and sexual abuse along the way. This is unconscionable."

"This is what happens when you tell the whole world that you're rolling out the welcome mat for illegal immigrants," Barletta said. "I blame the administration and anyone in Congress who openly talked about a pathway to citizenship for illegal immigrants, which in reality means amnesty for anyone who has broken our immigration laws."

The hearing, titled "Crisis on the Texas Border: Surge of Unaccompanied Minors," is scheduled for 1 p.m. (Eastern time) at South Texas College's Technology Campus, in McAllen, Texas.