The nation's top immigration officer on Wednesday pushed back at claims the administration has an open-border policy, adding that it upsets him to deport illegal immigrants.

Jeh Johnson, the secretary of Homeland Security, said that the U.S. is filling over a dozen jets a week with illegals and flying them back to Central America.

"That's what we're doing on a daily, weekly basis. We have something like 15 to 18 flights of migrants a week, just to Central America that we send back, people who have come here. And so we don't have open borders," he told reporters.

"We have to enforce the law consistent with our priorities. Is that pleasant? Not necessarily," added Johnson.

Johnson told of traveling to the U.S.-Mexico border where young families and youths have been crossing illegally.

"I've spent a lot of time in south Texas at our processing centers with a lot of kids and it is not pleasant to send somebody back to Central America. We have laws, we have a process by which someone can qualify for asylum," he added.

The administration has attempted to clear the path for families and youths to live in the United States and Johnson reiterated that goal in his breakfast meeting hosted by the Christian Science Monitor.

"People should have a safe, alternative legal path to come to the country," he said.

Paul Bedard, the Washington Examiner's "Washington Secrets" columnist, can be contacted at