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.
What the Trump administration did not mention is Mortensen’s views on immigration, which he chronicled liberally in blog posts between June 2009 and October 2017 for the Center for Immigration Studies, a Washington think tank that supports reduced immigration to the United States; Mortensen is listed as a fellow at CIS. In those posts, Mortensen linked illegal immigration to ID theft and higher crime rates; railed against Dreamers, who were brought to the country as children without documentation; criticized efforts at reforming the nation’s immigration system; and specifically targeted Senators John McCain and Marco Rubio, the Mormon church, and evangelical leaders for their support of those efforts. It’s worth noting, however, that Mortensen’s blog posts were restricted almost exclusively to those who are in the U.S. illegally. I did not find any post in which Mortensen criticized the asylum process that he will soon oversee if he is confirmed by the Senate, or the global refugee architecture to which the U.S. is still the largest single financial contributor.