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Kelso Residents React to Possible Immigrant Housing Site

KELSO, Ark. - It's quiet now but things may take a quick turn.

"This property is at the lower end of a floodplain," says Kelso resident Andrew Wargo III.

Wargo has lived in Kelso nearly all his life.

He says the old fishing experiment station federal agents were looking at Thursday are unfit for anyone to live in.

"It'll go under a foot of water and stay that way for 24 hours," says Wargo.

Wargo says when it rains, the site becomes an infestation of mosquitoes, snakes and alligators.

"They're not interested in the buildings, they are interested in building tents on the property," says Rep. Mark McElroy, (I-District 11).

Rep. McElroy lives in Kelso.

He says he does not support separating immigrant children from their parents at the border, or housing them in Desha County.

"I would invite our President to come down, let's spend the night in a tent and if you can stay all night then I will never complain again," says Rep. McElroy.

"I don't think it's going to go over very well," says Wargo.

Wargo says he could support immigrants being brought to Kelso if the right infrastructure was in place.

"You put people out there in tents, the mattresses are going to be flooding out of the tents and they're going to be knee-deep," says Wargo.

The proposed site is about a half-mile away from where thousands of Japanese Americans were detained in the 1940s during World War Two.

"We had 9,000 people that didn't look like us so we lock them up," says Rep. McElroy.

It's making people wonder if Kelso could make history again.

"Have we learned nothing," says Rep. McElroy.


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