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July 7th, 2014
05:24 PM ET

Congressman denied access to camp housing undocumented immigrant kids

(CNN) – Rep. Jim Bridenstine, R-Oklahoma, was turned away from Fort Sill, which is being used as a temporary facility to house about 1,000 undocumented children.

Bridenstine notified Health and Human Services ahead of time that he planned to visit this facility, although they did not say they would let him in.

"We went over to the facility where the children are being housed. It looks just like a military barracks, it's got a chain link fence, though, all around it now ... obscured with cloth all the way around it so you can't see in or out," Bridenstine said.

The congressman said he and his team drove around the compound trying to find a gate to access, or a guard to talk to.

"There were no gate access points, everything was locked up tight," said Bridenstine.

At one point, they saw someone peering through the fence. Bridenstine introduced himself as a member of Congress, and said he would like to speak with whoever runs the facility.

"He made a radio call, the radio call came back, and said that, 'the congressman is welcome to take a tour on the 21st of July.' This was on the first of July, so they wanted me to wait three weeks," said Bridenstine.

After pressing for more access, Bridenstine said he eventually met with the man running the facility, who came down to meet with the congressman, and tell him that lawmakers would not have access to the compound until later in the month, referring Bridenstine to deputy director of communications at HHS, Ken Wolf.

The Oklahoma congressman said he called Wolf, and an assistant answered and told him to send an e-mail.

"So I was denied access, and then I was actually denied the opportunity to talk to anybody at the communications office," he said.

The media will get a tour of the facility on Thursday, although they are not allowed to bring in recording devices or talk to the children. Bridenstine was offered a tour on the same day, but his schedule doesn't allow it so he will likely go this Saturday.

"I will take whatever tour they authorize me to take, but I will also make sure I do everything I can so that people are aware that they have something here they don't want people to know," said Bridenstine.

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