WASHINGTON (NEXSTAR) — New federal data shows the number of undocumented immigrants arriving at the southern border jumped by 71% between February and March while the number of unaccompanied minors doubled to nearly 19,000.

The Biden administration said it is using special pandemic rules and expelled 60% of the adults and families who crossed the border in March. But Health and Human Services Secretary Xavier Becerra said the government is required by law to care for unaccompanied children.

“At Health and Human Services, we take our humanitarian mission very seriously when it comes to children,” said Becerra. “We are caring for them, we’re placing them in the care of someone who is responsible.”

Becerra said the process takes time, so HHS is opening new facilities around the country to house the minors while they wait. One such facility is the Long Beach Convention Center in Southern California.

“We don’t have the luxury of asking the question ‘do we have the capacity.’ We have to find a way to make sure a child has the type of at least the basics,” he said.

Republican Congressman Fred Keller blames the Biden administration’s policies for encouraging migrants to make the dangerous journey.

“It’s a human tragedy and it’s a tragedy that was created by the Biden administration,” he said.

Democrats said they’re scrambling to fix the systems designed to help process asylum seekers and migrants that were dismantled by the Trump administration.