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Tulsa organizations prep to help 'bad border crisis' as OK senators voice concerns

Posted at 6:56 PM, Mar 25, 2021
and last updated 2021-03-26 19:28:43-04

TULSA, Okla. — As President Joe Biden addresses what many consider a crisis at the border with Mexico, 2 Works for You took a deeper look at what impact that might have in Oklahoma.

Local organizations dedicated to providing immigrants resources are preparing for the movement down south to make its way to Tulsa. Over the last five years, leaders of these organizations said a steady number of children have been placed in Tulsa to reunite with family already on this side of the border.

That is the goal of immigrant children still making their way through. A border security member told 2 Works for You they are seeing children with phone numbers to family members marked on their shirts and caps.

All of this is getting the attention of Oklahoma's senators.

“This is a humanitarian crisis. An emergency has been created,” Sen. James Lankford said during a press conference Wednesday.

“We’ve had a 173% increase in border apprehensions compared with one year ago,” said Sen. James Inhofe on Wednesday at Capitol Hill. “It’s obvious to just about everyone outside of Washington that the situation at our southern border is a crisis.”

The crisis is one which border security members are living every day.

“It’s bad. It’s a lot of people every day and night. They’re coming in, we’re getting busloads of people,” a member of U.S. Customs and Border Protection said.

This member spent the pandemic working from home. Because of the influx, that is no longer an option.

“I just want people to know we do take care of them,” the USCBP member said. “We feed them, we bathe them, they get toothbrushes.”

The border security member also said that the children they take in travel for a month by themselves to get to the U.S., and that parents are even sending one-year-olds.

“Yes, they’re aware that this is a dangerous, life-threatening journey,” Mimi Marton said, the associate dean of experiential learning at the University of Tulsa college of law.

“So, imagine how bad it must be at home if you make a choice to take that journey on even knowing you might not survive, your children might not survive.”

Marton says her team provides resources to the immigrants who make it to Oklahoma and they anticipate more to come over the next few months.

A public affairs specialist with USCBP told 2 Works for You their border numbers have been rising since April due to several factors including violence and famine in the northern countries of Central America.

Lankford said he will tour the Texas-Mexico border on Friday with other senators to provide oversight of the crisis.

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