OKLAHOMA CITY - An Oklahoma lawmaker is calling for the quarantine of the more than 1,100 undocumented immigrant children currently being housed at Fort Sill.
State Rep. Mike Ritze, R-Broken Arrow, says he's concerned the children, who crossed the US-Mexico border unaccompanied, may be infected with contagious diseases.
“As a physician, the chairman of Public Safety A&B, and a citizen of Oklahoma, I am concerned about the possibility of communicable diseases being carried by a population that does not have the same vaccination requirements as in the U.S.,” said Ritze.
He says he's sent letters to Gov. Mary Fallin, Attorney General Scott Pruitt, Oklahoma Commissioner of Health Terry Cline and state representatives in teh Lawton area to encourage "the protection of Oklahoma citizens from contagious diseases."
Ritze, a board certified physician and surgeon, says he recently observed three cases of illegal immigrants with tuberculosis.
The Arkansas Department of Health also recently reported leprosy in patients who are illegal immigrants, according to a press release from Ritze, and the Oklahoma State Department of Health reported cases of syphilis in patients who are illegal immigrants.
Ritze has requested that the children at Fort Sill be quarantined and the governor declare a state of catastrophic health emergency until the minors are determined to be clear of communicable diseases.
Ritze is also calling on state lawmakers to take any action they can to enforce current state laws, specifically the Oklahoma Taxpayer and Citizen Protection Act of 2007, which makes it a potential felony for anyone transporting, concealing, harboring or sheltering any illegal alien within the state of Oklahoma.
“I am hopeful that these Oklahoma leaders will do all they can to work with Fort Sill to ensure the safety and security of Oklahoma citizens," said Ritze.