Trump nominates Ronald Mortensen to head State Department refugee program

Who is Ronald Mortensen?

I had never heard of him, but CNN and other outlets call him an immigration hardliner, a “fellow” at the Center for Immigration Studies.

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Clearly a Trump supporter in Romney country, Mortensen said in August of 2016 that Trump is our only hope against corrupt elites.   //

Doing a quick scan of the Utah native’s writing at CIS, we see that he has mostly written about DACA and illegal alien issues, so his experience with the refugee program is apparently limited.

The most recent op-ed I found from him is from 6 months ago at The Hill about how to structure an amnesty for the DACA ‘children’ entitled:

Want to pass the DREAM Act? Let’s combine mercy with justice


As a retired Foreign Service officer, he surely has a good feel for the countries and cultures that feed in to the UN/US Refugee Admissions Program, and if approved by the Senate (a very long shot!), he might be able to find some experienced people to surround himself with who know where the problems are with the USRAP.

Here is one story from Deseret News:

Trump nominates Utahn to be an assistant secretary of state


SALT LAKE CITY — Utahn Ronald Mortensen was nominated by President Donald Trump Thursday to serve as assistant secretary of state for population, refugees and migration.

If his nomination is approved by the U.S. Senate, Mortensen, a retired Foreign Service officer with the U.S. State Department, would head the U.S. State Department Bureau of Population, Refugees and Migration.

The bureau’s mission “is to provide protection, ease suffering, and resolve the plight of persecuted and uprooted people around the world on behalf of the American people,” according to its website.

Mortensen has lobbied the Utah Legislature on identity theft and other issues and supported Trump in 2016. He is a fellow at the Center for Immigration Studies, a nonpartisan organization that bills itself as “low immigration, pro-immigrant.”

He has been described as continuing to respond to humanitarian crises around the world, including in Mali and Iraq after being recognized by the State Department for his courage during a civil war in Chad.

Mortensen, a veteran who holds a doctorate degree, was on the White House advance team for the 1986 summit between President Ronald Reagan and Soviet leader Mikhail Gorbachev in Iceland that helped lead to an end to the Cold War.

As time goes on, we will hear more about Mortensen.  You can be sure that the Refugee Council USA (the lobbying arm of the refugee industry) will soon weigh in.  (I haven’t seen anything from them yet.)

Readers may not know that the last Republican (under GW Bush) to hold this position, Ellen Sauerbrey, only got it through a recess appointment. Trump may have to go that route if he wants to fight for Mortensen.

And, then of course, if he is confirmed, the big question will be: Is he the man to push serious reform of the entire program, or simply a place holder?

At present, the Bureau of Population, Refugees and Migration is headed by a Stephen Miller acolyte, Andrew Veprek, as deputy assistant secretary—an assignment that has the refugee industry in high dudgeon. 

Get out the popcorn, this should be a good show!