NORMAN — The influx of hundreds of immigrant children at Fort Sill has an economic benefit for the community, too.
While members of Congress and the governor have opposed the move and the way it was done, Lawton officials expect a boost in the city’s economy.
A Chamber of Commerce official told the Associated Press he expects a $3 million per month boost in the local economy, mostly from contractors brought in to take care of the children.
The children, teenagers from Central America, were detained while trying to enter the U.S. illegally. They are among 47,000 children being housed nationwide at U.S. military posts and hospitals while officials try and sort out their return.
Besides restaurants and retail stores, officials expect a boost in housing rental and rental cars. They also expect to see temporary office space leased by out-of-state contractors who have been hired to work with the children.
One resident interviewed by the Associated Press said she supports the plan.
“They’re children. They need to be taken care of,” she said.
Since October, Border Patrol agents have apprehended more than 52,000 immigrant children traveling alone. Most of the young immigrants are from Honduras, El Salvador and Guatemala and are being caught in the Rio Grande Valley of Texas. At the same time, more than 39,000 adults with children have also been caught at the border. An unknown number of those immigrants have been released with notices to report to Immigration and Customs Enforcement offices near their final destinations inside the United States.
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