October 29, 2018 Press Release

Why does HHS Refugee Head Scott Lloyd still have a job?

10.29.18 – Last year when Scott Lloyd took the helm of the Office of Refugee Resettlement (ORR) at the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS), he brought with him a more than decade long career as an anti-abortion activist, but with little experience when it came to managing refugee programs.

Things have gone about as well as you might expect…

  • Just last week the Government Accountability Office (GAO) issued a scathing report that found that HHS and Lloyd’s ORR was woefully unprepared to handle the more than 2,600 children ripped from their families at the border this summer.
  • A separate POLITICO piece laid much of the blame at Lloyd’s feet, reporting that “Lloyd made decisions that complicated reunifications.” At the height of the administration’s child separation crisis, “HHS Secretary Alex Azar later removed Lloyd from day-to-day operations [of his office].”

For almost two years, Lloyd has systematically used his position to advance his far-right political views and has failed to fulfill core functions of his job. 

Why does Secretary Alex Azar continue to keep him on and to allow chaos, cruelty and incompetence to rein at HHS?

Here are just a few more examples:

Fudged The Number of Kids in His Care Which Left Children Stranded

  • “The Trump administration failed to include at least 14 migrant children in its count of minors whom officials separated from their parents at the border, which has left the overlooked children in HHS custody for months, the administration told a federal court late Thursday night.
  • Following a June 26 court order to promptly reunite thousands of separated families, [HHS and ORR] undertook its own reviews to understand the scope of the problem but arrived at different counts.
  • An official with knowledge of the process told POLITICO that Scott Lloyd “made the decision to go with the lower number.” (Politico, 10/26/18)

Advanced his Extreme Agenda…and Racked up Taxpayer-Funded Lawsuits

  • As soon as Lloyd took the helm of ORR, he demanded to serve as the final sign off for any young woman in ORR custody seeking an abortion.
  • He didn’t just review a summary of each young woman’s case, Lloyd  stood in the way of them accessing care when he personally visited the women, intervened to refer them to
    anti-abortion centers so they would be counseled against the procedure, and
    went so far as to demand a weekly spreadsheet that tracked the status of each
    young woman’s pregnancy.
  • These actions have been repeatedly blocked by the courts and have cost taxpayers an untold sum of money.

For those reasons – and many more – Equity Forward has called for HHS Secretary Alex Azar to fire Lloyd and for the relevant congressional oversight committees to investigate Lloyd’s actions and hold him accountable.