This morning, Congressman Bill Huizenga congratulated Zeeland Police Chief Bill Olney on his retirement and thanked him for his service and dedication to West Michigan during a speech on the floor of the U.S. House of Representatives.
Congressman Huizenga’s Remarks:
Mr. Speaker, I rise today to congratulate my neighbor and friend, Chief Bill Olney on his retirement from the Zeeland Police Department and to say thank you for his service.
After attending Grand Valley State University, and Wayne State University, Bill received a degree in criminal justice from Madonna College. He began his career in law enforcement in 1976 as a Michigan State Police Trooper, where he served for 25 years, protecting our great state.
In 2001, just one day after he retired from the Michigan State Police, Bill Olney joined the Zeeland Police Department where he served as Chief of Police for 16 years.
Chief Olney has dedicated his career to providing the highest quality law enforcement service and professionalism to the residents of Zeeland. His relentless work in our community and dedication is clearly reflected by the numerous accomplishments he has received over his career including serving on the West Michigan Criminal Justice Training Consortium, Ottawa Substance Abuse Prevention Coalition and Stop Child Abuse and Neglect Council.
As a lifelong Detroit Lions and Michigan State Spartans fan, I know he will enjoy retirement with his wife, Kathryn, his children, Shannon and Matt, and some football in the near future.
Mr. Speaker, I want to ask my colleagues to join me in saying thank you on behalf of the Second District of Michigan to Chief Bill Olney for his 41 years of service to the State of Michigan and to our country.
Earlier today, I introduced the Family Reunification Act. This legislation would require the federal government to reunite children that had been recently separated from their parents at the southern border. For years, partisan bickering has prevented meaningful immigration reform from being achieved. It is my hope that by reuniting children with their parents, the Family Reunification Act will build bipartisan momentum for solutions that strengthen border security and reform our outdated immigration system. You can read the text of the legislation here https://huizenga.house.gov/uploadedfiles/6.21.18.huizenga.reunification.legislation.pdf
The Administration must end the policy of separating children from their families immediately. If the Administration is unwilling to do so, then the House should immediately pass narrowly tailored legislation to end separations. While there are divisions on other areas of immigration, there is broad bipartisan support to put an end to this inhumane policy.
What is happening at the border is heartbreaking. I'm committed to leading a bipartisan, bicameral effort to find a humane solution that ends automatic separations and keeps families together. I have reached out to both Republican and Democrat offices in search of a workable bipartisan solution.
I am encouraged by the pro-active changes being made to the legislation that addresses family separations, DACA, and border integrity being considered by the House this week. Tonight’s meeting with President Trump provides an opportunity to work toward modernizing our immigration system and providing resolution to the crisis along the southern border.
The United States is a nation of laws, but it is also a nation of compassion. It’s clear the catch and release policy implemented by the previous Administration failed to stem the tide of people entering the country illegally. While changes in policy are necessary, the notion of automatically separating families runs counter to my values as a father as well as the core values of our nation. We must find a legislative solution that balances our compassion with the fact that some individuals are exploiting loopholes in our immigration system and actively trafficking children across the border. This week the House is scheduled to address the issue of border integrity, DACA, and family separation. There is an opportunity to have a workable bipartisan solution if we can stop the partisan bickering and actually put our nation first.