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Citing a humanitarian situation, President Barack Obama directed officials from the federal government to lead a relief effort due to a surge of children crossing the border between the U.S. and Mexico alone.

The head of the Federal Emergency Management Agency, Craig Fugate will be in charge of coordinating the response by the federal government that is aimed at figuring how to house the increasing number of young children who are detained and how to coordinate the ongoing care for them amongst the different federal agencies that are involved.

The number of minors who are unaccompanied attempting to make it into the U.S. has been rising for many years, but over the past 12 months has risen sharply. The children now crossing are also younger than at any previous time. Many children are less than 13 years of age, including many more young females.

After the U.S. Border Patrol apprehends minors that are unaccompanied, the children are supposed to be moved to the Department of Health and Human Services before 72 hours has passed.

Earlier in the year, that Department projected that over 60,000 minors who were unaccompanied would be cared for. That figure is up from a figure of 25,000 during 2013 and only 5,800 nearly one decade ago.

The majority of children who the HHS is caring for have attempted to cross from Mexico and through the Rio Grande Valley. Most are Mexican but there are also many from Central America due to poor economic conditions and problems with violence.

HHS said the children are held usually for up to 45 days, until officials are able to place them with a sponsor or their parents, often times in the U.S.

The children then are put into proceedings of deportation, with some eventually staying and others deported.

Minors apprehended who are Mexican rarely are referred to the HHS for care and custody and almost always are repatriated.

While the move by the White House was painted as humanitarian, Bob Goodlatte a representative in Congress from Virginia, a Republican and the House Judiciary Committee Chairman, blamed Obama’s policy on immigration for the increase calling it a disaster made by the administration.

Goodlatte said that word had circulated around the globe that President Obama’s immigration enforcement is lax and that has encouraged more people to attempt to enter the U.S. illegally, of which many are just children from the region of Central America.