More than 332,000 undocumented Mexican migrants, of whom nearly 16,900 were minors, were deported by the United States in a "safe, humane and orderly" fashion in 2013, the National Migration Institute, or INM, said Tuesday.

"From January to December 2013, the institute received 332,614 deported Mexicans via the nine repatriation points located in the states of Baja California, Chihuahua, Coahuila and Sonora," the INM, a Government Secretariat agency, said.

Some 16,853 deportees, or 5 percent of the total, were minors, of whom "2,834 were met by a relative or guardian, while the rest, 14,019, were taken in by the INM with 'unaccompanied' status," the INM said.

Of the minors under age 18, 14,530, or 86 percent, are females and 2,323, or 14 percent, are males.

"In all these cases, Child Welfare Officers provided immediate health, food, clothing and housing assistance to the minors, ensuring at all times that the principle of placing the interests of the child above all else was observed," the INM said.

"The figure for repatriated minors reflects a downward trend in recent years," the immigration agency said.

A total of 34,083 Mexican minors were deported from the United States in 2008 and 17,129 were sent home in 2012, the INM said.

Mexican officials provided "information, legal aid, housing, food, medical assistance and transportation support to repatriated Mexicans," the agency said in a statement.

Mexico is a transit country for the tens of thousands of Central and South Americans who try to enter the United States in search of a better life.

Thousands of Mexicans also try to enter the United States every year in search of work and opportunities.

Non-Mexican migrants use land routes and often make dangerous crossings into the United States, prompting the Rev. Alejandro Solalinde, a migrants' rights activist, to label the situation a "holocaust." EFE