November 20, 2018 Press Release

New ORR Director Same as Last ORR Director

11.20.18 – Last night, Huffington Post reported that Jonathan Hayes has been appointed to serve as interim director of HHS’ Office of Refugee Resettlement (ORR) following Scott Lloyd’s demotion.

If you haven’t heard of Hayes – you’re not alone.

According to Hayes’ LinkedIn, he has been at HHS for just six months and has spent time in a variety of fields, including on Capitol Hill, in local news, at Delta Airlines, as an associate at accounting firm KPMG and more. What he doesn’t seem to have is any relevant experience managing any large-scale government operations and or any experience with refugees.

“It’s hard to believe but it appears that Secretary Azar has found someone to run ORR at this critical time who is just as unqualified as Scott Lloyd was. Almost 200 kids still remain separated, and Azar doesn’t seem interested in finding someone with the background and experience to help them,” said Mary Alice Carter, Executive Director of Equity Forward. “After months of mismanagement, abuse and incompetence at ORR, the American people deserve someone in this position who can right horrific wrongs and ensure child safety. We also deserve to hear more from Secretary Azar and what he is actually doing to address his numerous management shortcomings. But this new appointment doesn’t give us a lot of hope that he is taking this seriously.”

Below please find initial questions for Secretary Azar on the ORR shakeup:

  • ORR has five major divisions and a budget of more than $1 billion. What experience does Hayes have managing large-scale, inter-agency, government operations?
  • What is Hayes’ experience providing direct services and support to at-risk communities and specifically refugees?
  • What will Hayes do to reunite the nearly 200  children still separated from their families as a result of the Administration’s “Zero-tolerance” policy?
  • How long will it take to appoint a permanent director?
  • Will Azar commit to finding a permanent director with ample refugee experience?