U.S. Rep. Chip Roy said Friday that his initial impression of Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis and Texas Gov. Greg Abbott’s decision to bus and fly migrants to other cities was “gimmicky” — though he’s since come around.

In an interview after a luncheon hosted by the San Antonio Chamber of Commerce at Estancia del Norte hotel, Roy also previewed conservatives’ approach to border security and immigration if Republicans take control of the House, hinting at the possibility of a government shutdown.

Roy, whose 21st District was recently redrawn to include more of San Antonio, said he was ultimately pleased the busing and flying of migrants to other cities drew attention to the issues facing communities at the border.

“People talk about ‘Oh, Gov. Abbott and Gov. DeSantis, they’re using humans as political pawns by sending people to D.C. and New York and Martha’s Vineyard,'” the Republican told attendees at the luncheon. “And I gotta be honest, I kind of thought those things were a little gimmicky when it first occurred.”

“But I saw the reaction to it and I was like, it’s a good move, because it woke up the country to what we’re experiencing every day in Texas,” said Roy, who faces Democrat Claudia Andreana Zapata in the Nov. 8 general in his bid for a third term.

City leaders agree San Antonio is struggling to accommodate unusually high levels of migrants arriving from the border, though they’ve committed to welcoming migrants on their journey.

In an interview after the event, Roy said he had not yet visited San Antonio’s migrant resource center but called it “problematic on many levels.”

“I need to get fully briefed and understand what’s going on there, but I’m concerned,” Roy said.

Roy worked for Texas Sen. John Cornyn and Sen. Ted Cruz, as well as state Attorney General Ken Paxton, before running for Congress in 2018.

A member of the conservative House Freedom Caucus, Roy said he’s been heavily involved in outside groups that are putting together plans to address the crisis at the border. Last month, Roy told Politico he’d submitted his ideas for addressing the border to House Minority Leader Rep. Kevin McCarthy, should Republicans take control of the House in the November midterm election.

“My very strong recommendation to Republicans is, don’t allow us to get caught up in the politics of comprehensive quote-unquote reform, which brings into the mix security, border issues, but also immigration and status of individuals who are currently here and future flow,” Roy said Friday.

Instead, Roy said his goal for a GOP-led House would be to focus solely on border security measures, such as border infrastructure and support for law enforcement working at the border.

“That’s what security looks like, that’s what we’ve shared,” Roy said of his communication with GOP leaders.

How much influence Roy would have in a Republican-led House remains to be seen.

In an interview with Evan Smith at the Texas Tribune Festival last month, Republican strategist Karl Rove suggested the group was losing power and membership. Given a slim majority in the House, however, they could still exert influence over their party’s leadership.

“A wider margin gives McCarthy a greater ability to govern,” said Rove. “A slimmer margin means he gets headwinds from the Freedom Caucus.”

Democrats currently control 220 seats in the House, while Republicans control 212. There are three vacancies.

Asked how he would address issues at the border with a Republican-controlled House and Democrat in the White House, Roy, who served as Cruz’s chief of staff during the 2013 government shutdown hinted at dusting off his old playbook.

“I have no interest in being bipartisan with people who are at war with my country and the people that I represent,” Roy said of his Democratic colleagues.

“We will only be successful if we fight, and the only way to fight is to use the power of the purse to demand change,” he said. “If Republicans won’t do that, then they should be tossed out on their ear and replaced with people who will.”

Regarding the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program that’s expected to expire, Roy said be believed its creation was “unlawful and unconstitutional” but that he was sympathetic to the young people who were brought into the country as children.

“They’re human beings,” said Roy. “But the first thing, I will do nothing — and I can promise you in Congress — I will not vote on anything about status. I will not talk about it until we secure the damn border.”

Andrea Drusch writes about local government for the San Antonio Report. She's covered politics in Washington, D.C., and Texas for the Fort Worth Star-Telegram, National Journal and Politico.