immigrant children

Oklahoma Department of Corrections

The botched execution of Clayton Lockett in April has been voted Oklahoma's top story for 2014.

Lockett's execution prompted the state to impose a moratorium on executions and led to new discussions on the future of the death penalty.

Court action legalizing gay marriages was voted second by Associated Press members, and a workplace beheading in Moore is third.

A series of sexual-assault charges against Oklahoma lawmen is fourth and troubles within Oklahoma's public school system is fifth.

Texas Town Welcomes New Immigrant Detention Center

Aug 6, 2014

U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) has set up a handful of new detention centers to process adults and children believed to have entered the country illegally. One of the new facilities is in Karnes City, southeast of San Antonio.

Joy Diaz of Here & Now contributor station KUT went on a tour of the Karnes City facility. She found that, unlike some other immigrant detention centers, this one is being embraced by the community.

Oklahoma's U.S. House delegation.
U.S. Rep. James Lankford / Facebook

All five members of the Oklahoma U.S. House delegation voted for a Republican-backed bill to address the crisis on the U.S.-Mexico border by sending migrant youths back home without hearings and to shut off a program granting work permits to immigrants brought to the U.S. illegally when they were children.

Both bills passed the House late Friday with Republican Reps. Tom Cole, Frank Lucas, Jim Bridenstine, Markwayne Mullin and James Lankford voting for them.

Dave Newman (newmanchu) / Flickr Creative Commons

The FBI is investigating how con artists were able to obtain confidential information about unaccompanied child immigrants being held in Texas and elsewhere as part of a scam netting the swindlers thousands of dollars.

Special agent Michelle Lee tells the San Antonio Express-News that information was obtained for children being held at Joint Base San Antonio-Lackland and at Fort Sill in Lawton, Oklahoma.

The presidents of Honduras, Guatemala and El Salvador will meet with President Obama on Friday.

But before the meeting, the heads of state are making the rounds in Washington, telling their side of an immigration crisis that has driven tens of thousands of unaccompanied children to the U.S. border.

Some of the immigrant children crossing the border say they are being subjected to abusive and inhumane treatment in U.S. Border Patrol stations in South Texas. This includes frigid holding rooms, sleep deprivation, verbal and psychological abuse, inadequate food and water, denial of medical care, and worse.

Dozens of children have come forward to make complaints against Customs and Border Protection officers. The agency responds that any complaints are the result not of mistreatment, but of its stations being overwhelmed by the surge of minors.

Oklahoma Governor Mary Fallin.
jadedtom / Flickr Creative Commons

Governor Mary Fallin’s office on Tuesday rejected a call by Rep. Mike Ritze to declare a Catastrophic Health Emergency to address issues related to the immigrant children being held at Fort Sill.

“It is our belief that the (Catastrophic Health Emergency Act) offers a very narrow interpretation of what a ‘health emergency’ is and when a CHE can be declared by the governor, wrote Steve Mullins, Fallin’s general counsel, in a Tuesday letter to Ritze. “We do not believe that the current health concerns at Fort Sill have met that threshold.” 

On July 14, Ritze, R-Broken Arrow, announced he had sent letters to Fallin Attorney General Scott Pruitt, Oklahoma Commissioner of Health Terry Cline and state representatives in the Lawton area encouraging them to do all they can to ensure the protection of Oklahoma citizens from contagious diseases following the federal government's decision to house illegal immigrant children at Ft. Sill.