July 26, 2018 Press Release

Azar Panders to Heritage Foundation as Reunification Deadline Looms

Hundreds of Children in HHS U.S. Government Custody Remain Separated From their Parents

07.26.18 – To comply with an order from U.S. District Judge Dana Sabraw, Alex Azar’s Department of Health and Human Services must reunify children five and older who were separated from their families as part of the administration’s “zero tolerance” policy by 6 PM EST today.

But instead of focusing on returning these children to their families, Alex Azar spent this morning speaking at the Heritage Foundation — a right-wing think tank — where he failed to address the child separation crisis, but did tout his work allowing health insurance companies to sell insurance policies outlawed by Obamacare because they don’t cover essential medical needs.

Meanwhile, Scott Lloyd, Azar’s Head of the Office of Refugee Resettlement (ORR) is nowhere to be found — he hasn’t been seen publicly for more than 100 days, meanwhile HHS continues to trot out any other official besides Lloyd to address the crisis.

“As hundreds of children remain separated from their families, Alex Azar wants to change the subject, refusing to tell us what he’s going to do to solve this manufactured crisis and failing to be transparent about the number of children still separated from their families,” said Mary Alice Carter, Executive Director of Equity Forward.

“And we still haven’t seen or heard from Scott Lloyd, the man in charge of the Office of Refugee Resettlement, since April. If Azar is going to spend his time pandering to conservative-elites, the least he can do is put his Refugee Chief forward to answer the public’s questions. It’s high time for Congress to do its job and hold Azar and HHS accountable for their conduct.”

Earlier this week Equity Forward launched a seven-figure ad campaign to urge Congress to exercise its oversight responsibilities over HHS and its secretary, Alex Azar. The campaign is part of Equity Forward’s “HHS Watch,” a project to promote transparency and accountability at the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services.