Inter-Faith Community Focuses On Emotional Well-Being Of Fort Sill Children
TULSA, Oklahoma - Members of Tulsa's Metropolitan Ministry held a community meeting Tuesday to talk about how Green Country can help with the hundreds of immigrant children being housed in Oklahoma. They said Tulsans are impacted by what's happening at Fort Sill.
The governor called the housing of illegal immigrant children in Oklahoma an immigration crisis. Tulsa's Metropolitan Ministry said it's a humanitarian issue. Tuesday's meeting focused on the safety of the immigrant children.
"This is not a border security issue, these children are surrendering at the border to get out of harm's way," said Drew Diamond with the Jewish Federation of Tulsa.
Hundreds of undocumented children, mostly between the ages of 12 and 17, are packed into barracks at Ft. Sill. The Department of Health and Human Services said they will be there for 120 days.
The concern for everyone is what happens to them after that.
"As we found out today, a lot of them in the long run will end up being sent back home into a situation that hasn't changed any," said parent Deanna Tirrell.
Members of many different faiths held a community roundtable to exchange information.
Ray Hickman with the Tulsa Metropolitan Ministry, said, "There are a lot of rumors going on through the Internet and through the community, in terms of people just talking about things. I've heard huge numbers of children, the numbers that I read though in the agencies that is particularly responsible say hundreds of children, that's a big difference."
Friday, the federal government told the governor the undocumented minors will be reunited with family members in America, and others will be processed through the courts to return home.
While officials try to determine logistics, the inter-faith community said their focus is on the some 600 kids' emotional well-being.
"Not to mention the incredible trauma they've gone through. Who knows what they may have experienced on their journey here. A child's mind needs help, I believe, processing that," Tirrell said.
TMM officials are gathering the input of social workers, attorneys and politicians. They said they are trying to come up with a streamlined way to offer appropriate services to the Ft. Sill to help the undocumented children.