Oklahoma Republicans blasted Barack Obama for detaining migrant children on an Army base in the state, but now say they are fine with Trump doing the same thing.
Vice News tracked down some of the Sooner State’s Republican lawmakers who had spoken out against President Obama in 2014 when he used Fort Sill to detain migrant children who crossed the border unaccompanied. At the time, Sen. James Inhofe said that housing migrant children there would “impede on the base’s vital responsibility to house and train new recruits.” Now that Donald Trump has announced plans to use Fort Sill for the same purpose, Inhofe has released a statement supporting the move, saying that the “decades of immigration failure” have made it necessary to turn to the military base for its resources.
Inhofe said he changed his mind because of the Trump administration’s planning.
“I have spoken to the Trump administration and local base officials and am confident that, unlike 2014, there is an organized, responsible plan for temporarily housing unaccompanied minors at Fort Sill that will not have an adverse impact to readiness on the missions at Fort Sill,” Inhofe said in a statement.
The Trump administration has been widely criticized for a lack of planning and organization for housing child migrants. The administration’s policy of separating child migrants from their parents and placing them in detention centers was blasted as haphazard, long after Trump reversed course and abolished the policy. After being forced by the courts to reunite children separated from their parents, the administration asked for two years to fully identify the children and locate their parents, Politico reported. Other reports noted that the administration did not know exactly how many children had been detained and had lost track of some of the parents.
In 2014, Sen. Inhofe said using Fort Sill as a shelter for child migrants would "impede on the base’s vital responsibility to house and train new recruits." This week, he said it was "necessary" for the Trump administration to do the same thing.https://t.co/Q6Ara74GHk— g a b y (@gabydvj) June 14, 2019
Inhofe is not the only Oklahoma Republican to change course on using the Army base to house migrant children. Sen. James Lankford, who was a Congressman during the Obama administration, called on the Obama administration to deport children who arrived at the border but has put out a press release backing Trump’s decision to use the facility for the same reason.
As Vice News noted, children housed at the base during the Obama administration were quickly processed and moved to sponsor families, while the Trump administration has slowed the process and is keeping these children in government shelters for longer periods of time.