Office of Refugee Resettlement (ORR) director E. Scott Lloyd—the religious zealot who unsuccessfully tried to block an immigrant teen’s access to an abortion—single-handedly prolonged the detention of hundreds of migrant children, by telling “subordinates last year that he’d have to personally sign off before any kids could be released from ORR’s secure facilities,” Huffington Post’s Roque Planas reports.
“As a result,” he continues, “hundreds of kids spent extra time in the jail-like facilities, which have been associated with far more allegations of abuse and mistreatment than the shelters and homestays that hold most of the children in ORR custody.” Lloyd reportedly blamed migrant kids themselves for this decision, after he claimed that he read “news reports that some unaccompanied minors released from ORR custody later allegedly committed gang-related crimes.”
But the government has a history of falsely accusing young immigrants of gang affiliation. In one instance this year, a judge actually ordered officials to stop falsely accusing Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) recipient Daniel Ramirez Medina of gang ties. While another judge halted Lloyd’s policy just weeks ago, the extent to which his fanaticism prolonged the further suffering of brown children in ORR custody horrifying.
Migrant children who were separated from their parents under the administration’s barbaric “zero tolerance” policy have described strict rules where even hugging your own sibling is forbidden. Twelve-year-old Leticia, according to the New York Times, was being detained in Texas and “had hoped to give her little brother a reassuring hug. But ‘they told me I couldn’t touch him,’ she recalled.” Numerous lawsuits against the administration have alleged unsanitary drinking water, food “not fit for consumption,” and children “routinely” drugged with psychotropics—“by force if necessary.”
”Lloyd’s decision to make his personal signature a requirement for release from these secured facilities isn’t an anomaly. It’s part of a pattern,” Planas writes. “With almost no experience working on immigration issues or child care, the low-level bureaucrat has unilaterally made sweeping changes at the agency, blocking minors’ abortions, keeping kids incarcerated longer and making it harder for parents to recover their kids.”
Lloyd came into this job overseeing the safety and security of thousands of vulnerable children with no experience overseeing the safety and security of thousands of vulnerable children, yet the Trump administration still can’t explain what makes him qualified to lead ORR. They probably won’t explain how you can be “pro-life” and still advocate for the prolonged imprisonment of children, either.