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Fort Sill to Cease Housing Illegal Minors

August 4, 2014
Press Release

Norman, OK – Congressman Tom Cole (OK-04) released the following statement after learning that Fort Sill Military Base is expected to discontinue housing unaccompanied illegal minors by Friday, August 8. In response to the surge of these unaccompanied minors at the southern borders coming from Central America, the Administration had ordered the use of three military facilities. According to an announcement made today by the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS), the Administration plans to discontinue use of these surge emergency shelters.

“I am very pleased by today’s announcement that HHS will discontinue using military facilities for housing unaccompanied illegal minors,” said Cole. “I am grateful to HHS Secretary Sylvia Burwell for respecting the sense of Congress, recognizing that military bases are not the right place to house these minors and working quickly to move them elsewhere.

“Out of serious concern for our service members for which these facilities are designed and intended, I have always been opposed to the Administration’s emergency plan of using our military facilities for managing the surge of illegal minors. While it is encouraging that HHS is moving these unaccompanied illegal minors off the bases, the problem that caused the surge must still be addressed, starting with enforcement of current immigration law and plugging the loophole in the 2008 sex trafficking law which the Administration claims forces it to go through a lengthy litigation process before returning unaccompanied illegal Central American minors to their country of origin. The House passed legislation to do that just last week. The Administration would be wise to embrace at least this portion of the legislation in order to address the crisis at the border.”