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.
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.