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Fort Sill selected as new temporary shelter to house unaccompanied migrant children

The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services plans to begin placing up to 1,400 unaccompanied minors at Fort Sill this month, according to the Office of the Secretary of Defense.

Federal officials announced this week that Fort Sill had been selected as a new temporary shelter to house unaccompanied migrant children. The Office of Refugee Resettlement said Tuesday it is dealing with a dramatic spike in the number of children crossing the nation’s southern border without parents, leading federal officials to look at options to shelter those children.

Fort Sill, which also was used to house migrant children in 2014, was selected and Maj. Chris Mitchell, Defense Department spokesman for the Public Affairs Office of the Assistant Secretary of Defense for Public Affairs, said the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) plans to begin placing children at Fort Sill this month. Under an agreement between the Department of Defense and HHS, the facilities on Fort Sill (which have not been identified) will be provided through September, Mitchell said.

He said HHS will operate the facilities, and their personnel or contractors will care for the children. HHS has not released details about the children.

Members of Oklahoma’s Congressional delegation said the action is necessary to address an increasing problem on the southern border. Sen. James Lankford, Sen. Jim Inhofe and U.S. Congressman Tom Cole, who represents the Fourth Congressional District that includes Lawton-Fort Sill, issued statements on the action.

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