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Trump’s Pick to Lead Refugee Efforts Is a Critic of Immigration (The Atlantic)

May 31, 2018

When President Trump picked Ronald Mortensen to head the State Department office that coordinates the U.S. response to global refugee crises, he listed the nominee’s credentials that make him suitable for the job: Mortensen, a statement issued last week said, was a retired foreign service officer who had served in France, Australia, Mauritania, and Chad. For the past 15 years, he had worked with the U.S. Agency for International Development, responding to the crises in Iraq, Syria, the Democratic Republic of the Congo, and other places. In other words, Mortensen was an ideal candidate for the job.

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But other than those blog posts, little is known about Mortensen, who spent years in government service and created few ripples. Jeremy Konyndyk led USAID’s  Office of Foreign Disaster Assistance from 2013 to 2017, overseeing the U.S. response to international disasters. That’s where, he said, he came across Mortensen. Konyndyk, who is now a senior policy fellow at the Center for Global Development, told me Mortensen was on OFDA’s surge roster, a team of personnel sent in emergency situations to various countries.

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Senior Policy Fellow