November 2, 2018 Press Release

Top Eleven Times HHS Chief Azar Should Have Fired Refugee Director Scott Lloyd…But Didn’t

Despite Lloyd’s demonstrated incompetence and cruelty, Secretary Azar continues to stand by him

11.02.18 – 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.  

Organizations like Equity Forward have long been calling for Lloyd’s removal from office, yet Health and Human Services (HHS) Secretary Alex Azar continues to stand by Lloyd, refusing to hold him accountable for actions that have hurt the lives of thousands of women and children.  

When Alex Azar assumed office in January 2018, he painted himself as intolerant of ethically questionable behavior at HHS, even accepting the resignation of the CDC Director less than 48 hours after being sworn in.  Why is Azar continuing to keep someone in a position of power who is woefully unequipped to do the job?

Here’s a history of the top eleven times HHS Chief Azar should have fired refugee Director Lloyd…but didn’t.  

Lloyd started his tenure at ORR by implementing sweeping policies to give himself more leeway in controlling young people in ORR custody.

March 2017

When Lloyd instituted a policy that required his personal sign-off on the release of certain children in ORR custody, stranding many in prolonged detention.  The New York Civil Liberties Union (NYCLU) is currently engaged in a class action lawsuit on behalf of children harmed by this policy.

March 2017

When — even before he officially became ORR Director — 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.

March 6, 2017

When Lloyd toyed with the idea of experimenting on a  young undocumented woman in ORR custody by forcing her to “reverse” her medication abortion, despite a lack of scientific evidence showing such a procedure is safe or even possible.

December 18, 2017

When — it was revealed — Lloyd requested a spreadsheet every week containing information on every pregnant teen in his custody, including the length of pregnancy and whether the teen has asked for an abortion.

Despite being slapped down by courts for interfering in young women’s health care decisions, Lloyd continues to elevate his own personal ideology in 2018.

April 10, 2018

When Lloyd spoke on a UN panel sponsored by three radical right-wing groups, including the Family Research Council (FRC), which has been designated as a “hate-group” by the Southern Poverty Law Center.

July 2018

When Lloyd was removed by Chief Azar from “day-to-day operations” at ORR for his gross mismanagement of the child separation crisis.

August 10, 2018

When 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.

August 22, 2018

When Lloyd — it was discovered — once equated abortion and the Holocaust, stating “The Jews who died in the Holocaust had a chance to laugh, play, sing, dance, learn, and love each other. The victims of abortion do not.”

And in the last month alone, Lloyd gave Azar three additional reasons why he is not fit to serve at HHS.

October 22, 2018

When 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.

October 24, 2018

When Lloyd was taken to task by the Government Accountability Office (GAO) in a scathing report which found his office was woefully unprepared to handle the more than 2,600 children ripped from their families at the border this summer.

October 26, 2018

When 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.

What more does Azar need to fire Lloyd?  Why is Azar protecting Lloyd?