A group of Oklahoma lawmakers is urging President Obama to reconsider using Fort Sill to house unaccompanied minors.
US Senator Jim Inhofe and all five of Oklahoma's U-S House members are opposing the decision by the Department of Defense (DoD) to extend the use of temporary shelters at several military installations through January 2015.
Gov. Mary Fallin's campaign started an online petition, demanding closure of the shelter at Fort Sill.
"Keep your promise. Close the facilities at Fort Sill. It was scheduled only to be open 120 days,” Fallin said.
Hundreds of teens have been housed at Fort Sill since last month after detention centers near the border became too crowded.
According to the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) there are currently 864 minors in the Unaccompanied Alien Children program’s temporary shelter at Fort Sill. To date, 997 children have been discharged from the temporary shelter there.
Administration told Fallin on Tuesday that, so far, 212 undocumented children have been released in Oklahoma and that those children either go to a sponsor family or family member, regardless of whether that family member is in country legally.
Fallin says some of these children will go into the public school system, and she believes Oklahomans will pay the price. The governor also believes taxpayers and hospitals will have to foot the bill for the undocumented children’s medical care once they’re released into Oklahoma.
Fallis says she is also concerned because the government has asked DHS if they have foster families available for the undocumented children. She says that puts a strain on the Oklahoma children waiting for foster families.