A spokesperson for Sen. Jim Inhofe (R-Okla.) told KSWO, the ABC affiliate in Lawton, Okla., on Wednesday that plans have changed at Ft. Sill and migrant children will not be housed there for the time being.
The Trump Administration had planned to house 1,600 children at the base, which was used to imprison Japanese Americans during World War II and Native Americans prior to that.
In a statement to KSWO, the spokesperson said that illegal border crossings have dropped, and as a result, the Department of Health and Human Services won’t have to use Ft. Sill.
Tsuru for Solidarity, a Japanese American group that has sent former incarcerees and others to participate in protests at Ft. Sill, said in a statement on Thursday: “Yesterday, the government decided to put Ft. Sill detention plans ‘on hold’ indefinitely. We and partners will keep working to ensure that ‘on hold’ means NEVER AGAIN.
“In the meantime, we’re celebrating. This victory is a direct result of solidarity, organizing, and protest!
“We are cheering together with our partners Dream Action Oklahoma, United We Dream, BLM Oklahoma City, AIM Indian Territory of Oklahoma, Indigenous Environmental Network, Bend the Arc: Jewish Action, Sunrise Movement, Oklahoma Call for Repro Justice, Womens March Oklahoma, and ACLU of Oklahoma
“And we echo the words of United We Dream’s Cristina Jimenez: ‘When we take action we win!’”
Dream Action Oklahoma said in a statement, “Only four days after up to 1,000 protesters shut down the main Ft. Sill entrance, Oklahoma Senator Jim Inhofe called to halt the plan to detain immigrant children at the fort. If or when the detained children are moved to a new location, expect us yet again.
“With little notice, this coalition gathered nearly 1,000 advocates from across Oklahoma and multiple states to march on Bentley Gate, closing off traffic and effectively bringing part of the military base to a close through the demonstration.
“Protesters demand an end to not just the Ft. Sill proposal, but an end to all concentration camps in the United States. This action was a clear call to end violent immigration policy, family separation, child imprisonment broadly, and mass incarceration. Know that this is only the beginning.”
Last month, Inhofe and fellow Oklahoma Republicans Sen. James Lankford and Rep. Tom Cole expressed support for plans to house unaccompanied minors at military installations, including Ft. Sill.
“Decades of immigration failures, made worse by the Obama Administration, have created such a crisis on the southern border that it is necessary to turn to military resources to assist unaccompanied minors arriving from Central America,” Inhofe said. “While I am disappointed that Democrats continue to ignore the crisis, I have spoken to the Trump Administration and local base officials and am confident that, unlike in 2014, there is an organized, responsible plan for temporarily housing unaccompanied minors at Ft. Sill that will not have an adverse impact to readiness or the missions at Ft. Sill.
“This crisis was caused by President Obama and congressional Democrats. President Obama’s policies invited these minors to come, and the Democrats’ continued blockade against common-sense immigration reforms, including building the wall, have perpetuated it. I’m going to continue working with the president to enforce our immigration laws and secure the border as I have consistently done – it is our only hope of resolving the ongoing immigration crisis.”