Stop the Mortensen Nomination Sign-On Letter

Add Your Organization's Name to Our Letter Opposing Mortensen's Nomination 

Dear Senator,

We are deeply concerned that Ronald Mortensen has been nominated to serve as Assistant Secretary of State for the Bureau Population, Refugees, and Migration (PRM), and we urge you to reject his nomination. Mr. Mortensen’s extremist, anti-immigrant views and his lack of relevant experience should disqualify him from overseeing U.S. refugee and migration policies.

Mr. Mortensen’s hostility toward migrant populations makes him uniquely unqualified to lead the State Department bureau whose 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." As we face the worst refugee crisis since World War II, Mr. Mortensen’s confirmation would signal an abdication of America’s historic role as a global leader in responding to humanitarian crises.

Mr. Mortensen has repeatedly spread falsehoods and misinformation seeking to vilify immigrants as criminals, despite ample evidence to the contrary.  In addition to accusing Senator John McCain of "rolling out the welcome mat for ISIS,"[2] Mr. Mortensen has blamed Dreamers for “destroying the futures of innocent American children.”[3] Mr. Mortensen has also attacked religious communities, including evangelical, Catholic, and Mormon leaders, for their charity and humanitarian aid programs.[4] He has implied that "compassionate conservatives" are racially biased against Africans.[5]  No one who harbors these outlandish views should be responsible for formulating and implementing such a critical component of U.S. foreign policy.

In addition to his extremist views, Mr. Mortensen lacks the necessary experience on the complex set of issues that affects refugees. During his tenure at the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID), Mr. Mortensen specialized in logistics and administrative support, including booking hotel rooms, for agency personnel. Mr. Mortensen’s former supervisor at USAID said, "There’s nothing at his work at USAID that would naturally incline one to say this guy would make a great assistant secretary at the State Department."[6] Not only does Mr. Mortensen lack any experience in formulating or overseeing refugee policy, but he also lacks the managerial background necessary to oversee more than 200 employees and to administer 35% of the State Department's budget. There is nothing to suggest that Mr. Mortensen is qualified to lead PRM, and in fact, there is overwhelming evidence that his views run contrary to the bureau’s mission.

Over the last sixteen months, the administration has engaged in a systematic effort to dismantle the United States Refugee Admissions Program and undermine the American tradition of protecting the persecuted.  From the executive orders temporarily suspending the refugee program and banning travelers from predominantly Muslim nations, to slashing the annual refugee admissions target from 110,000 to 45,000 persons, these policies reflect an abandonment of the ideals inscribed on the Statue of Liberty. Mr. Mortensen’s nomination further signals an erosion of the humanitarian pillars of U.S. foreign policy.

Mr. Mortensen’s background not only makes him unqualified to lead PRM--it should disqualify him from holding a Senate-confirmed position responsible for U.S. refugee and migrant policy. His extremist anti-immigrant views are dangerous, alarming, and entirely inappropriate for a high-ranking diplomat. With allies and partners relying on American moral leadership, Mr. Mortensen must not be the face we show to the world’s most vulnerable. We urge you to reject Mr. Mortensen’s nomination.








GOAL: 216 signatures

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