About 3,300 of the unaccompanied children who crossed the U.S. Mexico border this year have been released to parents or relatives in this country.
As of early June, nearly 100 of those kids were here in Michigan, according to the Office of Refugee Resettlement.
Meanwhile, another 20 or so children will reportedly arrive at a Bay City shelter run by Wellspring Lutheran Services later this month.
They’re supposed to stay in the Bay City facility for just a short amount of time, somewhere in the range of one to two months.
Chris Shannon is the mayor of Bay City.
He says emotions in his town are mixed.
“Yeah, in the little bit of time that we’ve had to digest this, and reflect on it, and converse among our neighbors and our fellow residents, the things that I’ve been hearing have been across the board,” he says.
“Certainly, you’d be hard pressed to find anyone in our town who doesn’t have a lot of empathy for – let’s call them in this case, victims. A lot of other people wouldn’t call them victims, they’d call them illegal aliens.
“In general, our community is very compassionate and very empathetic to anyone in a situation where they’re at risk or threatened or have great humanitarian needs.
“So there’s certainly that dynamic at play. And then at the other end of the spectrum, there’s a great deal of frustration,” Shannon says.
“I mean, why is a small town in the north of Michigan, why are we affected by an issue from the southern border? And why is our federal government seemingly kicking the can down the road year after year, and not securing our border and creating a dynamic of lawlessness and you’ve got children who are becoming political pawns in all this.”