December 3, 2018 Press Release

ICYMI:  Former Refugee Director Scott Lloyd Has Long History of Endangering Minors in His Custody

Lloyd, who is responsible for lack of background checks at tent cities housing children, must answer for his actions in front of Congress

12.3.18 – As reported last week, former Office of Refugee Resettlement (ORR) Director Scott Lloyd was directly responsible for waiving required Child Abuse and Neglect background checks for over 2,000 staff overseeing the housing of minors at a tent city in Tornillo, Texas, calling into question whether any of these staff have serious criminal histories.  Many of the staffers who did not receive background checks had the closest and most regular contact with children in ORR custody.  Thursday, Congressman Jerrold Nadler sent a letter to HHS Secretary Azar expressing concern over this revelation and calling on Lloyd to testify in front of Congress.

This is not the first time Lloyd has endangered the lives and safety of children in his care.  From interfering in young women’s health care decisions to being directly responsible for keeping children detained in custody longer than necessary, Scott Lloyd’s tenure as Director of the Office of Refugee Resettlement (ORR) has been marked by chaos, cruelty, and incompetence. Despite this history, instead of firing Lloyd, HHS Secretary Alex Azar reassigned him to another office within the agency.

“Despite painting himself as “pro-life,” Scott Lloyd’s record shows that he’s endangered the safety and lives of children on numerous occasions,” said Mary Alice Carter, Executive Director of Equity Forward.

“Secretary Azar should have fired Lloyd, not given him a soft landing at a new post.  Lloyd must be held accountable for his actions and testify in front of Congress for the misdeeds he committed against the thousands of children in his care. And while we are glad that Lloyd is no longer in a position that oversees minors, Azar needs to answer for why Lloyd is still employed at all at HHS. ”

Other times Scott Lloyd endangered children in his custody

March 2017

  • Lloyd instituted a policy that required his personal sign-off on the release of certain children in ORR custody, stranding many in prolonged detention which experts say will have long-term, lasting negative effects.  The New York Civil Liberties Union (NYCLU) is currently engaged in a class action lawsuit on behalf of children harmed by this policy.

  • Lloyd helped institute a policy that gives the ORR Director final sign-off for any young woman in ORR custody seeking an abortion.  Not only did Lloyd stand in the way of young women accessing care, his actions have been repeatedly blocked by the courts because of a lawsuit brought by the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) and have cost taxpayers an untold sum of money.

  • Lloyd toyed with the idea of experimenting on a young woman in ORR custody by inquiring if  she could “reverse” her medication abortion, despite a lack of scientific evidence showing such a procedure is safe or even possible.

August 2018

  • Lloyd — after reports of child abuse at HHS contracted facilities surfaced — penned a cold and indifferent letter to the editor denying substantive claims of abuse at the Shenandoah Valley Juvenile Center (SVJC), a facility in Virginia that houses unaccompanied minors in ORR care.

October 2018

  • Lloyd — we learned, according to multiple sources — made decisions that complicated reunifications during the family separation crisis.  Specifically, Lloyd neglected to review case files for separated children and stopped tracking them, delaying their return to their families.

  • Lloyd — it was reported — deliberately fudged the number of children in his care, leaving children who had been cruelly torn from their families stranded unnecessarily in HHS custody for months.

November 2018

  • Lloyd was directly responsible for waiving required child abuse and neglect checks for over 2,000 staff overseeing the housing of minors at a tent city in Tornillo, Texas, calling into question whether any of these staff have serious criminal histories.