Fort Sill to shelter migrant children
LAWTON, Okla. (AP) — The federal government has chosen a military base in Oklahoma as the location for a new temporary shelter to house migrant children and is considering a customs port in southern New Mexico as another option as existing shelters are overwhelmed.
The Office of Refugee Resettlement said Tuesday it's dealing with a dramatic spike in the number of children crossing the border without parents. The agency already has received referrals for nearly 41,000 kids so far this fiscal year, marking an increase of almost 57% over the same period last year.
The facility at Fort Sill near Lawton, Oklahoma, would be capable of holding 1,400 kids. Fort Sill served as a temporary emergency shelter for unaccompanied children in 2014 as a result of a migration surge at that time.
That's in addition to the shelter announced just last week in Carrizo Springs, Texas, where as many as 1,600 teens could be held in a complex on government leased land near the U.S.-Mexico border.
Bases in Georgia and Montana were passed over, but officials also are weighing the possibility of establishing an emergency shelter at New Mexico's Santa Teresa port of entry that could take in children if there was an urgent need for more bed space.