Kelly Ogle Goes Behind The Scenes At Fort Sill

Thursday, July 10th 2014, 10:09 pm
By: News 9

For the first time, we were allowed inside Fort Sill to see the more than 1,000 children who crossed the border illegally and are now being housed there.

I went on a 45-minute tour, but we were allowed to take only a pen and notepad. No recording devices. No questions. No interaction with those inside.

A handful of reporters loaded onto a van for the short ride over to Fort Sill's Ferris Hall, a three-story, dormitory-style barracks.

The rooms have since been decorated by the teenagers.

In one of the girl’s dorms, the girls were doing crafts, some playing cards and board games on the floor and six others were dancing to a boom box playing "Girls Just Want to Have Fun."

In the boy’s dorms, they were also playing games and several were twisting yard into bracelets.

Many of the kids smiled and said, "Hola," as we passed by.

Downstairs, a room full of teenagers, most over age 14 at this facility, were watching the movie "Frozen" in Spanish.

7/10/2014 Related Story: Federal Officials Open Fort Sill Immigrant Shelter To Media

Across the hall, caseworkers on laptops were meeting individually with about a dozen kids at a time. Some were on the phone calling family here in the U.S. or even back in their home countries.

The kids get three meals a day in the cafeteria. Today, it was tacos for lunch.

They're given a health screening, vaccinations and about 3 days’ worth of clothes, which are washed twice a week.

The kids are also offered basic English classes, math, arts and crafts and optional bible study.

I was surprised to learn that the average stay at Fort Sill is only 15 days before these kids are discharged to relatives or sponsors, who are responsible for getting them back to immigration court.

Already 566 of these teenagers have been discharged from Fort Sill to states across the country, but the beds are quickly filled by new children.