EXCLUSIVE: Official Overseeing Migrant Children Shelters To Transition Jobs

Saagar Enjeti | White House Correspondent

Office of Refugee Resettlement (ORR) Director Scott Lloyd will leave his post for a new role in the Trump administration, The Daily Caller learned Monday.

The normally overlooked department within the vast Department of Health and Human Services rose to national prominence as the Trump administration sought to stem the flow of Central American asylum seekers at the southern border.

Lloyd is taking a position with the Department of Health and Human Services’ Center for Faith and Opportunity Initiatives.

Scott Lloyd, director of the Office of Refugee Resettlement at the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, testifies during a House Judiciary Committee hearing concerning the oversight of the U.S. refugee admissions program, on Capitol Hill, October 26, 2017 in Washington, DC. The Trump administration is expected to set the fiscal year 2018 refugee ceiling at 45,000, down from the previous ceiling at 50,000. It would be the lowest refugee ceiling since Congress passed the Refugee Act of 1980. (Photo by Drew Angerer/Getty Images)

Lloyd’s department oversaw the detention and care of thousands of Central-American children arriving unaccompanied at the U.S. southern border and claiming asylum. The ORR is also instrumental in preparing for the expected housing and detention needs when a caravan of thousands of Central American would-be asylum seekers make their way to the U.S.-Mexico border.

An HHS official familiar with Lloyd’s thinking told TheDC he was particularly frustrated in his position with media coverage of migrant detention, particularly during the summer of 2018 when the Trump administration pursued a zero-tolerance policy at the border. “There were wild inaccuracies about kids being cages, it’s very difficult to operate in those circumstances.”

“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. I thank Secretary Azar for this new opportunity,” Lloyd said in a statement to TheDC.

The zero-tolerance policy entailed prosecuting anyone who crossed the southern border illegally, including Central American family units. Prosecution of family units at times resulted in the separation of parents from children, prompting intense media scrutiny and an eventual reversion by Trump to a catch-and-release policy. (RELATED: Angry Tijuana Residents Push Back Against Migrant Caravan: ‘This Is An Invasion’)

Scott Lloyd, director of the Office of Refugee Resettlement at the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, arrives for a House Judiciary Committee hearing concerning the oversight of the U.S. refugee admissions program, on Capitol Hill, October 26, 2017 in Washington, DC. The Trump administration is expected to set the fiscal year 2018 refugee ceiling at 45,000, down from the previous ceiling at 50,000. It would be the lowest refugee ceiling since Congress passed the Refugee Act of 1980. (Photo by Drew Angerer/Getty Images)

An HHS official familiar with the transition told TheDC his new role was part of a broader discussion within the department and that his new role remains in line with his previous experience. Lloyd previously served as a lawyer for the Knights of Columbus, a Catholic charitable organization and will focus on outreach to faith communities on behalf of the department.

“I am joining the Center for Faith and Opportunity Initiatives 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,” Lloyd continued.

HHS spokeswoman Evelyn Stauffer explained in a statement to TheDC that “to expand our outreach efforts under the direction of Shannon Royce to our community-based and faith-based partners, Scott Lloyd will transition from the Office of Refugee Resettlement in order to serve as a Senior Advisor to the Center for Faith and Opportunity Initiatives.”

Shannon Royce, director of Center for Faith and Opportunity Initiatives similarly issued a statement to TheDC, saying, “I’m thrilled to have Scott join our team and bring his relationships and expertise to bear in serving the needs of our communities.”

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