Scott Lloyd, refugee office director — who was initially tasked with handling the Trump administration’s family separation policy and aimed to stop pregnant migrants in federal custody from having abortions — was reassigned.
Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) press official, Evelyn J. Stauffer, told ThinkProgress he will soon become a Senior Advisor to the Center for Faith and Opportunity Initiatives “to expand our outreach efforts under the direction of Shannon Royce to our community-based and faith-based partners.” The Center for Faith-based and Neighborhood Partnerships is HHS’ liaison to the faith community and other grassroots organizations.
The news was first reported by the Daily Caller.
Prior to being tapped to serve under the Trump administration, Lloyd was an ardent anti-abortion advocate and had no experience working with refugees or migrants. During the George W. Bush administration, he acted as an HHS attorney where he co-authored a “conscience” rule, giving medical providers the right to deny contraceptives for moral reasons. His ardent opposition to reproductive rights came up after the American Civil Liberties Union sued the Trump administration for trying to prevent a 17-year-old migrant in HHS custody from having an abortion. Court documents showed Lloyd instituted a policy that required him to sign off on any abortion a migrant minor sought in Office of Refugee Resettlement’s care.
Lloyd was technically in charge of children who were separated from their parents as part of the administration’s “zero tolerance” immigration policy, but HHS secretary Alex Azar got stuck with the responsibility. Lloyd has largely avoided the spotlight since the abortion lawsuit, prompting groups like Equity Forward to ask “where is Scott Lloyd?” (Politico reported he is writing an anti-abortion book.)
.@realDonaldTrump's ORR Director, Scott Lloyd, is in charge of reuniting children who had been taken from their families. What is he doing instead?
WE HAVE NO IDEA.
He hasn't been seen or made a public statement in 93 (!!!) days. pic.twitter.com/kxgbu1Igaf
— Equity Forward (@EquityForward) July 12, 2018
According to three individuals who spoke with Politico last month, Lloyd was effectively no longer in the role after ORR struggled in reuniting separated families over the summer.
“When Secretary Azar addressed us in January as our new Secretary, he encouraged us to be bold. I am joining the Center for Faith-based and Neighborhood Partnerships to help Director Royce and team continue to develop bold ideas on how communities and faith-based entities can play a central role in successfully achieving the Secretary’s priorities, which will improve the health and well-being of the American people,” Lloyd said in a statement to ThinkProgress.
“While I have valued my time at the Office of Refugee Resettlement, I am excited to take on this new challenge. I am grateful to Assistant Secretary Johnson and the incredible people at ORR and the Administration for Children and Families, and I am proud of what we have accomplished together.”
Groups like Equity Forward and Planned Parenthood asked the administration to fire Lloyd, not reassign him to a new federal position.
“As Director of the ORR, Scott Lloyd consistently put the health of young immigrants at risk in order to further his extreme anti-abortion agenda. From blocking young undocumented women- including at least one rape survivor- from accessing safe, legal abortion to separating families at the border, Lloyd has permanently tainted the Office of Refugee Resettlement. Papering over his failure by moving him elsewhere in the federal government isn’t good enough. Lloyd is a national disgrace and he has proven himself unfit to serve in the administration in any capacity,” said Vice President of Government Relations at Planned Parenthood Federation of America Dana Singiser in a statement to ThinkProgress.
This post has been updated to include a statement from Planned Parenthood.