President Donald Trump announced plans to nominate a retired foreign service officer affiliated with an organisation that critics call an anti-immigrant hate group to run the State Department bureau
overseeing refugee protection and resettlement.
Ronald Mortensen, whose postings as a diplomat included Chad, Gabon and Australia, was tapped to be assistant secretary of state for the Bureau of Population, Refugees and Migration, the White House said.
Mortensen, whose nomination is likely to spur a confirmation fight in the Senate, backed Trump’s presidential bid and is a vocal opponent of illegal immigration.
Attention quickly turned to his current role as a fellow at the Center for Immigration Studies, which the Southern Poverty Law Center classified as a hate group in 2016 for
its “repeated circulation of white nationalist and anti-Semitic writers.”
In a statement, the American Civil Liberties Union called Mortensen an “anti-immigrant zealot” and said senators should examine his past statements “and animosity towards civil rights and civil liberties.”