Today is the day the Department of Health and Human Services allowed media to take a tour of the holding facility for illegal immigrants at Fort Sill. More than one thousand unaccompanied minors, most from Central America, are being housed there
The HHS imposed strict restrictions on the media taking part in the tour, including no recording equipment, no questions on site, and no interviews. Email responses to questions will be provided later, and they've even imposed these restrictions on lawmakers.
While visiting Fort Sill earlier this month, Oklahoma First District U.S. Congressman Jim Bridenstine says he was not allowed to tour the facility by HHS.
He does plan to tour the facility on Saturday.
Rep. Bridestine says, “We're going to treat their demands as suggestions and sending them a letter back telling them who we want to talk to. We want to talk to the people who run the facility, people in charge of the medical operation, the people who handle the children. the CDC and National Institutes of Health. These are the people it's important for us to have access to in order to understand the crisis in order to deal with it.”
The Congressman says he has two big concerns. He wants to make sure Fort Sill's operations are not disrupted, and that the children are being treated well. He says the problem will only get worse until the southern US border is secured.
“We've got to figure out a way to make sure people in Central American understand if they come here they're not going to be able to get in, and if they get in they're not going to be able to stay or this crisis is going to get bigger. We can see it's getting bigger by the day,” he says.
Bridenstine says in October, Fort Sill will need those barracks for troops. He's pushing for inspections and oversight of the HHS facilities while the children are there.