Opinion | Please Gov. Snyder, protect immigrant children shipped to Michigan

When children are at risk because of the government, everyone in government with any power to help has an obligation to act.

In Flint, government failure exposed kids and babies to all the harms of lead poisoning. Some will suffer from cognitive impairment and other health problems for the rest of their lives.

Now children have been separated from their families by the Trump administration and shipped to Michigan. Everyone agrees that the separation of families is tragic, and experts say that the children, like the kids in Flint, may face lifelong trauma.

Tim Greimel is a state representative from Auburn Hills. He is running for Congress in the 11th District in the Democratic primary

When reports of unsafe lead levels in Flint first surfaced, some state leaders sought to shift blame instead of taking responsibility and taking action to stop the dangerous situation. We now see a similar pattern of deflection as Gov. Snyder and his Department of Health and Human Services claim there is nothing they can do to help reunify separated families.

Rebuttal opinion: Tim Greimel wrongfully blames governor for immigrant children sent to Michigan

The truth is that foster children in Michigan and the agencies that place them are subject to state regulation and oversight. That’s as true for the children separated from their families by the Trump administration as it is for the rest of foster children in Michigan. Our state government has both a moral and legal obligation to track the children, to ensure their safety and well-being, and to act promptly to reunify them with their families. The inaction of the Snyder administration is inexcusable.

In the wake of the Flint water tragedy, I made the serious decision to call on Gov. Snyder to resign after it became clear that his administration knew of harmful lead levels much earlier than it acknowledged and failed to act. I called on him to resign because I knew that a leader who failed to act to protect innocent children was likely to do it again.

Gov. Snyder has an opportunity to prove me wrong by taking immediate action to protect the children taken from their families by the Trump administration and to reunify them with their families. I hope he does.

If Gov. Snyder proves me right by continuing to deflect responsibility and do nothing, it’s not too late for him to step aside and let someone else rectify this heartbreaking tragedy.

Bridge welcomes guest columns from a diverse range of people on issues relating to Michigan and its future. The views and assertions of these writers do not necessarily reflect those of Bridge or The Center for Michigan. Bridge does not endorse any individual guest commentary submission.

If you are interested in submitting a guest commentary, please contact Monica WilliamsClick here for details and submission guidelines.

Facts matter. Trust matters. Journalism matters.

If you learned something from the story you're reading please consider supporting our work. Your donation allows us to keep our Michigan-focused reporting and analysis free and accessible to all. All donations are voluntary, but for as little as $1 you can become a member of Bridge Club and support freedom of the press in Michigan during a crucial election year.

Pay with VISA Pay with MasterCard Pay with American Express Donate now

Comment Form

Add new comment

Dear Reader: We value your thoughts and criticism on the articles, but insist on civility. Criticizing comments or ideas is welcome, but Bridge won’t tolerate comments that are false or defamatory or that demean, personally attack, spread hate or harmful stereotypes. Violating these standards could result in a ban.

Plain text

  • No HTML tags allowed.
  • Web page addresses and e-mail addresses turn into links automatically.
  • Lines and paragraphs break automatically.
This question is for testing whether or not you are a human visitor and to prevent automated spam submissions.


Kevin Grand
Mon, 07/16/2018 - 9:20am

Sorry, Rep. Greimel, the responsibility of government is to look out for and protect IT'S OWN CITIZENS FIRST.

The recent cyclospora outbreak should be reason enough to be cautious regarding freely admitting anyone who won't assimilate to our cultural standards.

America is under no obligation to allow any illegal aliens into our country.

If the policy of separating children disturbs you so much (providing that they really are the children of these illegal aliens), then why haven't you or the rest of the pro-illegal alien crowd said anything while is was SOP under Pres. B.O.?

Carla K
Mon, 07/16/2018 - 5:53pm

Read the law to which you refer, all 750 pages of it. Title III is what covers this and only barely. It starts on page 567 and does not call for separation of all children of “illegal” (a word not used like this in the law) aliens. Furthermore, the only connection with Obama is that Republicans forced insertion of Title III into the proposed bill and as a majority passed it during his administration. Obama had nothing more to do with it, so attributing it to Mr. Obama is incorrect or “Fake News.”

Second, by tradition, America IS obligated to helping people who have fled their homelands to our country. We began as people from other countries and our entire history through WWI, was in doing just that:encouraging, aiding and welcoming foreigners (even those who did not or could not take the time and/or expense to go through official channels). Check out the inscription on Lady Liberty in New York’s harbor.

Finally, as Americans, we have been the strongest spokespeople for the ethical and humane treatment of ALL people everywhere and MUST practice that at home first and foremost.

Kevin Grand
Tue, 07/17/2018 - 11:59am

Did YOU read the law, Carla?

There is this nice big section on determining the safety of the children coming here. It's under Title II of the same law. You know that part dealing with human trafficking. I'm certain that you must have gone though it to get to Title III.

Can you unequivocally tell me that each and every child is with their actual biological parents?

Second, America is under NO OBLIGATION to "help" anyone. We have restricted entry into our country numerous times through our history from Alien Enemies Act to Real ID.

And why do people mistakenly believe that Lazarus' poem (slapped on in 1903), has anything to do with a statue that was assembled about 30 years earlier. Bartholdi's work was intended to promote the principles of republicanism. Lazarus' poem was to promote the progressive philosophy of her time (know today as socialism). So, nice try.

Now, if you want open borders, and I'm presuming the abolishment of ICE as well, before you accede to essentially committing national suicide, go and research how well the open border philosophy has worked out over in Europe. With the notable exceptions of Poland and Hungary, its hasn't worked out as well as the wide-eyes believers of open borders hoped that it would.

Tue, 07/17/2018 - 10:20am

You seem more than a little confused. You're speaking of regulating immigration, while the author is speaking of handling children ALREADY HERE. And yes, the state not only has a moral obligation to take care of those who cannot take care of themselves (children), but a legal obligation.
Sorry you don't like where they were born.
Regarding your contention that it was SOP during the Obama administration, you're wrong. This administration has very deftly influenced unobservant and incurious cretins like yourself by saying it is obeying the law as it was written for the first time. Please understand this undermines you on two points: 1) The administration is openly admitting that it is doing things differently 2) The directors of misinformation are avoiding explaining that the executive is given broad rights to interpret legislative directive, and that this new policy in regards to the law is informed by the advise of the justice department. The DOJ under Obama, Shrub, and Clinton saw it differently.

bob schlappi
Mon, 07/16/2018 - 11:43am

Snyder protects his corporate buddies. THAT'S IT. These kids came with their parents seeking assylum,which is legal.

Mon, 07/16/2018 - 3:43pm

Why would the govt. send kids or anyone for that matter to 14 different states? Oh yes and then not keep good records who you sent and where. R.L.

Mon, 07/16/2018 - 3:44pm

Why would the govt. send kids or anyone for that matter to 14 different states? Oh yes and then not keep good records who you sent and where. R.L.

Mon, 07/16/2018 - 4:49pm

The most amazing part of this is that Trump says no undocumented foreigners allowed in the US ...and then makes it policy to ship foreign children all over the US and not document them.

Mon, 07/16/2018 - 4:51pm

Then YOU pay for these people. Good grief you liberals are idiotic.

Mon, 07/16/2018 - 8:02pm

Curious, given what is happening on our southern border and through out Europe, what is the difference between immigration and invasion?

Ann Farnell
Mon, 07/16/2018 - 10:00pm

Kevin Grand do you have a heart?

Kevin Grand
Tue, 07/17/2018 - 11:11am
Susan Bender
Tue, 07/17/2018 - 4:24pm

Perhaps if Trump had not decimated the State Department, we could attend to helping countries solve the issues that make people want to leave. If our own citizens can't educate themselves well enough to become skilled tradesmen, we should let someone else have a go at it.