Snyder spoke in Washington at a business round table meeting with Ford Motor Co. Executive Chairman Bill Ford and other business leaders. The governor said he doesn't expect the influx of children to have an economic impact on the state but said it shows the need for comprehensive immigration reform.
"It's really terrible the whole situation with the undocumented children and that's really generated the crisis that you're currently talking about," Snyder said.
It's difficult to estimate the number of children who have arrived in Michigan, Snyder said. He said about 92 unaccompanied children are in the state on a temporary basis, but it's unclear how many are from the Central American countries of Honduras, El Salvador and Guatemala.
"With respect to the impact on Michigan, it's not going to be costing the state of Michigan," Snyder said. "The federal government is paying for all that."
The governor said the influx of tens of thousands of unaccompanied minors coming into the U.S. illegally is "an unfortunate consequence of a much bigger problem that I've always encouraged the federal government to solve."
Snyder described himself as "the most pro-immigration governor in the country," saying immigration "is what made our country great."
He said forcing international graduate students to leave the U.S. after they get their degrees "is absolutely dumb." Many of the students want to remain in the U.S. and would create jobs if allowed to do so.
"This is another subject matter where we're being let down," Snyder said. "Not just on the kids, but the whole issue of immigration reform. Let's get it solved. One of the things that made us a wonderful country is the fact that most of us came from someplace else or our parents did."