Gov. Rick Snyder says President Trump has opened a “much-needed” national conversation on immigration with his order that limits travel from seven majority-Muslim nations.
The governor did not weigh in specifically on whether he supports or opposes the order, but said he is working to make Michigan welcome to immigrants.
Snyder’s entire statement:
“I support safe and secure borders. As the governor of Michigan, I also know firsthand the strong economic and entrepreneurial culture that has developed in our state because of the vast number of immigrants who have settled here for generations. Michigan has been one of the most welcoming states for legal immigration and properly vetted refugees. Michigan is the best place to live the American Dream and I will continue to encourage people to move here from other states and countries to fulfill their visions and find success.
“I plan to reach out to other governors and the presidential administration to completely understand the security processes and procedures in place and how the new executive orders might affect people trying to legally enter Michigan. The President’s 120-day reassessment period is leading to a much-needed national dialogue on immigration policy, and I plan to be part of that discussion.”
Snyder has a mixed record on immigration issues. He once called himself the “the most pro-immigration governor in the country,” and asked the Obama administration to bump up the number of Syrian refugees relocating to Michigan. But, in November of 2015, he called for a “pause” in resettlements amid concerns over the vetting process.
The governor’s statement was released Tuesday morning while Snyder is out of the country on a trade trip to Israel. While he’s gone, Lieutenant Governor Brian Calley is in charge.
Calley says criticism of the order is overblown.
“We have a new administration, and the new administration is looking for a few months to go through and vet the whole process that we use today,” he said. “That doesn’t seem to be an unreasonable position to me.”
“…This is America. We ought to be able to figure out how to get security right, and be welcoming to immigrants.”
Immigration policy is in the bailiwick of the federal government, but debates over the Trump policy dominated activity in the state Capitol Tuesday. House Democrats sponsored a resolution condemning the travel ban.
State Rep. Jeremy Moss (D-Southfield) compared the Trump administration’s action to the U.S. turning away German Jewish refugees before World War II. He says the refugees being stopped from entering the U.S. are fleeing war-torn countries where they are targets.
“We should be taking a leadership role to welcome those people into the cloak of our security, our safety, and our freedom,” he said. “Instead, we are succumbing to the same anti-refugee rhetoric that we’ve heard time and time again in dark periods of our history.”
Moss and other Democrats also called on state Attorney General Bill Schuette (R) to challenge the order on constitutional grounds. But, Schuette, who backed Trump in the November election, says he supports the order.
Michigan has been the arrival point for more than 25,000 refugees from the countries named in the ban during the last 15 years. Here are data about where they came from.