Governor Mary Fallin tours Fort Sill dorms housing immigrant minors, seeks answers from feds

LAWTON, Okla. - After Governor Mary Fallin toured Fort Sill she said around 600 minors who immigrated from South and Central America unaccompanied were on the base. The governor added 135 more immigrants were in the process of being transported to Fort Sill.

Shortly after her tour ended, coach buses entered the base, presumably caring those 135 children.

After her tour, Fallin said she was very pleased by the conditions the children, ranging in age from 12 to 17 years old, were being housed in. 

Being watched by a private federal contractor, the Department of Homeland Security and U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, the minors are being provided with dorm style housing. Fallin said it includes cot beds with mattresses, clean clothes, regular food and room for activities.

Before they arrived at Fort Sill, she said they received medical screenings and vaccinations. Those steps were taken according to the governor as to not put anyone at Fort Sill at risk.

During her tour, which Sen. Jim Inhofe joined, a considerable amount of questions were asked.

Fallin said she wanted to know how long the children will be staying at Fort Sill and costing taxpayers money.

The answer she received, 120 days.

"That begs the question if you are not controlling the borders and we keep seeing more of these children and teenagers coming across the border illegally, and you are not going to secure the borders, what makes you think it is only going to be 120 days?," Fallin said. "It is only going to get worse."

During her tour she received notice that Fort Sill could be housing around 1,200 minors in the future. 

Fallin also wanted to know where the minors will go when they eventually leave the base, which federal workers on the base shared with her.

"The President's policy was to reunite these teenagers with their families in the United States, or some other loved one, acquaintance of the family," Fallin said.

Something she witnessed today. She saw case workers with the children, talking by phone to their parents around the states and also back in their home countries. 

According to the governor many of the parents in the states are in Houston, California, or Northeastern states. She was told at Fort Sill today most are likely there illegally.

"They said for the most part they probably are," Fallin said. "So basically you have children that have come up to be reunited with families that are already here illegally in the United States."

The immigrants at Fort Sill without family in the U.S., could face the federal court system. 

"From what I understood, they would go through the court process like a regular person who would be deported back to their home country." 

Fallin said the children would not find their way into Oklahoma's foster care or school systems. 

The governor also requested more transparency from the federal agencies overseeing the dorms at Fort Sill.

"I specifically asked, because I think it is important that the public knows what is going on here at Fort Sill, if the media could take a tour," Fallin said. "Because the media is a group who will be able to inform the public what is going in. It is a federal issue. It is not run locally here. They have to get permission from the very top in Washington, D.C."

According to Fallin, no cell phones or photography were allowed during her tour. 

Inhofe, not available for comment released a statement this afternoon in which he said, "Today's tour of Fort Sill just reaffirmed to me that something must be done to secure our borders and to force the Obama Administration to abide by our immigration laws. The flood of children coming to the border without parents is a humanitarian crises, and the President is also turning it into a national security issue by housing these individuals on our military installations."







Print this article Back to Top