- Fort Sill has become a holding facility for over 1,000 minors who have crossed the U.S. border illegally.
During a controlled and scripted tour, members of the media were shown a secure, clean and humane detention facility at Fort Sill housing nearly 1,000 unaccompanied minors who have cross the United States border illegally.
In response to the large number of undocumented minors crossing the border from Central American countries, the Department of Health and Human Services has been charged with managing detention facilities across the nation, which include the one located at the Fort Sill Army base.
In three shifts on Thursday, members of local and national media were offered a guided tour of the facility. Cameras and recording devices were not allowed, but hand written notes were permissible.
Tour guides, which were officials with the DHHS, read from scripted sheets offering statistics and schedules for what the children experience during their stay, which averages 15 days.
The tour included: A visit to the intake center where children meet with bilingual case managers. Each case manager has an international phone that can be used to try and reach relatives in an effort to reunite children with family. The intake room included quotes in Spanish on the walls offering phrases of welcome and encouragement.
The medical facility is staffed with medical personnel that perform health screenings of every child that enters the facility. Treatment is also offered to children who may become sick or injured. Children undergo an initial health screening before they arrive at Fort Sill.
The dormitories are large rooms with 60 beds each. Children are encouraged to decorate the room with coloring pages and other crafts. Many of the rooms include drawings of the flags from their homelands and other reminders of home.
Children are offered basic math and English lessons on site. There are also recreational and entertainment options, such as movies, music and sports.