Gov. Mary Fallin said she owes it to Oklahoma citizens to know what was happening in her state with the housing of illegal immigrants.
"I have the right to know. And, I need to be able to tell the citizens of our state what's going on," Fallin, a Republican, told Fox News' "America's Newsroom" on Wednesday.
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Yet, when she went to the military facility at Fort Sill, where over 1,000 children are now being held, Fallin said she was told to "be silent and have a quick tour and be out of there."
She said she encountered "an outside organization that had been contracted by the federal government that had set up what they wanted me to see."
Fallin said she had "a lot of questions that were left unanswered" following her visit. She said a primary concern was about the sponsors that children were being released to in the United States.
"My question, as a mother, who are the sponsors? Is it a family member? Is it a relative? Is it someone that paid to have this child brought to the United States? Are they being trafficked here?" she asked.
She also questioned how the children were "protected as they're coming from those different countries through Mexico and up to the United States." She said there were "lots of reports of sexual abuse," and girls as young as 10 years old who "may be pregnant now because of the abuse they received along the way."
Another concern was the health of the children, and Fallin said she took her health secretary with her for her visit.
"I was concerned about the health of the children. What are they bringing into Oklahoma, into our facilities, around our military installations, into our communities, and the workers that are there?" she said.
Fallin, a former chairwoman of the National Governors Association, said she had an opportunity to have a "pretty blunt conversation" with Health and Human Services Secretary Sylvia Burwell about the situation at the group's recent meeting. She said the governors discussed their concerns about the impact to their states' educational systems and the health of the children entering the local communities.
The surge of thousands of illegal immigrants, many of them unaccompanied minors, had "shocked the nation, shocked, certainly, the governors," Fallin said, adding the problem for communities was particularly severe "at a time where we have our own problems in our states."
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