Naval Base Ventura County to house undocumented immigrant children

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The US government is ensuring undocumented immigrant children have appropriate medical care and housing. (KABC)

The number of children trying to come into the United States illegally has been rising in recent years, and has surged in the last month. The government is now figuring out how to make sure the children have appropriate medical care and housing.

Declaring an "urgent humanitarian situation" along the southwest border, President Barack Obama plans to house some 600 children crossing the border illegally at Naval Base Ventura County at Point Mugu.

The White House says the number of children crossing has been on the rise, spiking last month, up 90 percent from this time last year. Many of the detained children are girls, and more are under 13, compared to last year.

The government says most are crossing the border into the U.S. through the Rio Grande Valley in Texas. In just the past two weeks, officials say, more than a thousand children have been housed at Lackland Air Force Base near San Antonio.

White House officials say most of the children are from Central American countries. They say the children are fleeing financial hardship, violence and many are looking to reunite with family in the U.S.

Homeland Security Secretary Jeh Johnson issued a statement:

"Addressing the rising flow of unaccompanied children crossing our southwest border is an important priority of this Administration and the Department of Homeland Security (DHS). It requires a whole of government coordinated and sustained response."

The Obama Administration is now asking Congress for well over a billion dollars to provide the children with medical care, housing and transportation. Officials are expecting to spend more than $2 billion this year alone dealing with this issue.

While the children will eventually be housed at the Ventura County naval base, military personnel will not be responsible for their care. The Department of Health and Human Services will be in charge of them with the ultimate goal of releasing them to a parent, relative or other sponsor in the United States, and officials say the immigrant removal process will continue.

The facility is not yet open at Naval Base Ventura County. The White House is working with the governments of Mexico, Guatemala and El Salvador to try to stop the flow of children coming to the U.S. illegally.

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