August 13, 2018 Press Release

ICYMI:  Embattled ORR Director Scott Lloyd Finally Emerges From Hiding and Goes on the Record After More Than 100 Days

Lloyd Responds to Allegations of Severe Abuse at Detention Facilities in “Cowardly” WaPo Letter    

08.13.18 — This weekend, Office of Refugee Resettlement (ORR) Director Scott Lloyd penned a letter to the editor in The Washington Post denying claims of abuse at the Shenandoah Valley Juvenile Center (SVJC), a facility in Virginia that houses unaccompanied minors in ORR care.  Lloyd — who is not only infamous for being at the center of the child separation crisis, but also for his role in attempting to prevent unaccompanied minors in ORR care from receiving safe and legal abortion services — hadn’t been seen in public or gone on the record  in 121 days; the last time Lloyd was seen in public was when he appeared on a panel with a known hate group to discuss immigration.  

Said Mary Alice Carter, Executive Director of Equity Forward:

“As claims of  severe abuse at ORR facilities continue to surface, Scott Lloyd has chosen the path of least resistance by responding with an unfeeling letter to the editor published late on a summer Friday afternoon.  This is nothing short of cowardly, pure and simple.”

“His letter is particularly appalling considering the drastic steps Lloyd took in order to prevent pregnant teens in ORR custody from receiving health care, even going so far as to hop on a plane to interfere with a young woman’s abortion decision.  If Lloyd can find time to try and stop a young woman from exercising her fundamental right to end her pregnancy, he can do more than pen an empty letter in response to allegations of severe abuse. Lloyd needs to check his priorities, stop trying to get in between women and their medical care, and be held accountable for his role in the family separation crisis.”      

According to the Associated Press, immigrant children as young as 14  at SVJC have reported being “beaten while handcuffed and locked up for long periods in solitary confinement, left nude and shivering in concrete cells.”  These allegations of abuse come after Lloyd instituted policies that expanded his direct authority over children in ORR care.  Specifically, since last summer, Lloyd’s personal sign off has been required before certain children under “higher supervision” can be released from ORR custody.  As a result of this new policy, teens are being detained for much significantly longer periods of time; in fact, more than 700 children in ORR custody have been caught in the new regimen, which often conflates victims of gang violence with gang members.  This increase in Lloyd’s personal supervision mirrors his near-obsession with pregnant teens in ORR custody: the office instituted a directive that requires his personal sign-off in order for minors to obtain abortions and at one point even flew to Texas to try and convince a young woman to not have an abortion.       

Despite the fact that six Latino teens provided sworn statements detailing the abuse claims at SVJC, Lloyd resoundingly denied these claims in The Washington Post letter, calling assertions that ORR doesn’t have strong policies in place to combat incidents of abuse “misguided and inaccurate.”  In fact, Lloyd actually lauds the care at ORR facilities, claiming media and members of Congress have noted the “excellent care” provided.  These claims fly in the face of a recent statement from Congressman Bob Goodlatte (R-VA), whose district includes SVJC and responded to the claims in the Associated Press report by calling them  “alarming” and worthy of “a thorough investigation to uncover the truth.”

Today’s letter comes on the heels of weekly ads Equity Forward has been running in Lloyd’s local paper, The Northern Virginia Daily, calling on Congress to hold him accountable for his role in the family separation crisis.