Scott Lloyd, the anti-abortion crusader who headed the Office of Refugee Resettlement during the Trump administration’s monthlong experiment with family separations at the border, will no longer serve in that role.
Instead, he will work at Department of Health and Human Services’ Center for Faith and Opportunity Initiatives, as first reported Monday by the Daily Caller.
ORR’s current chief of staff Jonathan Hayes will serve as interim director, according to an agency statement.
Despite serving in what is normally a low-profile role, Lloyd repeatedly drew controversy and prompted lawsuits ― most notably by attempting to keep several unaccompanied child migrants in federal custody from receiving abortions. During his tenure at ORR, the agency also came under fire for its handling of children separated from their parents at the border, its restrictions on releasing unaccompanied minors and its low refugee resettlement numbers.
Lloyd, previously a lawyer for the Catholic group Knights of Columbus, told the Daily Caller he has valued his time at ORR, but added he is “excited to take on this new challenge.”
Lloyd took the unprecedented step of requiring any minor in ORR custody who wanted an abortion to get his personal sign-off, and once blocked an abortion for a teen who was pregnant as result of a rape. ORR was forced to offer access to abortion to minors in custody after a lawsuit by the ACLU.
Planned Parenthood Federation of America, which has been highly critical of Lloyd’s treatment of pregnant girls in ORR custody, applauded his departure but argued he should be out of government entirely.
“Papering over his failure by moving him elsewhere in the federal government isn’t good enough,” Dana Singiser, a spokeswoman for Planned Parenthood Federation of America, said in a statement. “Lloyd is a national disgrace and he has proven himself unfit to serve in the administration in any capacity.”
As ORR Director, Lloyd also made it more difficult for child migrants to leave jail-like secured facilities by requiring his personal sign-off before making those transfers. A federal judge blocked that policy temporarily in June.
Lloyd was unhappy in the role, which subjected him to intense media scrutiny after the Trump administration enacted the family separation policy in May of this year, according to The Daily Caller.
But the decision to shuffle him into a new role appeared to stem partly from Lloyd’s mishandling of the child separation crisis, according to Politico. Health and Human Services Director Alex Azar had to personally intervene to review case files during the hectic episode.
This has been updated.