Oklahomans expect an economic boom as a result of the flood of illegal immigrant children the federal government has begun sending their way.
The Department of Defense has loaned the facilities at Ft. Sill, Oklahoma, to the Department of Health and Human Services to house approximately 600 unaccompanied alien children, according to the Department of Defense. Local officials expect the surrounding community to reap the rewards.
“They’re talking about $1.2 million impact for the Lawton-Fort Sill community within the first 30 days,” Lawton Mayor Fred Fitch told KSWO 7 News. “Several hotels I already talked to (say) they are booked solid through November.”
The Department of Defense has only approved the use of Ft. Sill for HHS for up to 120 days, so this would suggest that the government workers coming to town may plan on overstaying their welcome. Fitch said he expects the entire mission could go longer than four months, and explained his city is prepared in the event the effort does take more time than originally anticipated. As a result, Fitch explained he thinks businesses will see new revenue.
“There’s going to be a lot of food purchases, there’s going to be gas purchases, the car rental companies, a lot of these people are coming in by air,” Fitch told KSWO.
The Oklahoman reports the ratio of federal worker to child at Ft. Sill will be one federal worker per every two children. Based on that ratio, the area could expect approximately 300 federal workers. An HHS factsheet indicates such workers would include representatives from the Office of Refugee Resettlement within HHS’ Administration for Children and Families. The kids will be kept in a 200,000 square foot building and kept under 24-hour supervision. Fitch insisted to KSWO that the children will not be allowed to leave the confines of the post and that the influx of children will not have any adverse impact on the local community.
— Ryan Lovelace is a William F. Buckley Fellow at the National Review Institute.