Dick Posthumus is the former lieutenant governor of Michigan and chief of staff to Gov. Rick Snyder
Michigan is a state known for collaboration, strong partnerships and perseverance through tough issues. As part of Gov. Rick Snyder’s administration, I’ve worked with many people I never imagined I would to achieve great results for the citizens of this great state.
That’s why I’m writing with great disappointment in response to Tim Greimel’s guest commentary that consisted of eight paragraphs of falsehoods and mistruths. What’s more, they were knowingly mistruths. Rep. Greimel, along with several of his colleagues, sent a letter to Gov. Snyder asking about the state’s involvement in fostering unaccompanied children who were sent to Michigan by the federal government. A letter that went to the media before the Governor’s office actually received it, but that’s beside the point.
Greimel's commentary: Please Gov. Snyder, protect immigrant children shipped to Michigan
Having thoroughly researched the status of these children and their placement, and examining whether there was any involvement by any state agencies or even any actions it was possible for the governor to take, we carefully and truthfully addressed every single question in the letter and sent a response.
We shared with Rep. Greimel and his colleagues that it is not possible for us to track the children brought to Michigan, as the federal government does not share any information about the minors, nor does it permit the service organizations who care for the children to share that information with the state.
There seemed to be confusion on Rep. Greimel’s part among several different programs, which is understandable. Wee explained in our response that unaccompanied children under the supervision of the federal government and the state’s Unaccompanied Refugee Minor program are not the same and the data on these children is not provided to any state agencies, nor the governor’s office.
The week following the response to this letter, the governor’s office started facilitation of a large meeting to bring together many different parties including Bethany Christian Services (where some immigrant children were housed), state agencies and the Michigan Immigrant Rights Center. Rep. Greimel was invited to participate so that he can receive answers to his many questions firsthand.
While the Governor has no authority for direct intervention in issues of federal detainment, we are doing what we can to get answers for those who seek them. I understand that in an election year, false public accusations of inaction against the governor are too great for some to resist. But I do hope the representative will take this valuable opportunity to sit with those who actually have direct involvement with the children and facilitation of the programs that manage placement, and have his questions answered factually.
Accusing the Governor in this case of “deflecting responsibility” is not only a political cheap shot, it is irresponsible for someone who is sits in elected office with a taxpayer-funded salary. As a representative himself, Rep. Greimel should understand government well enough to know that questions or concerns about a federal policy should be directed to his federal representatives.
From staying in touch with our Congressional delegation on matters of importance, we know that several of our representatives have toured facilities of the nonprofits that have taken in many of these children and met with federal agencies responsible for their placement and care.
What actions has Rep. Greimel taken, besides wrongfully assigning blame?