Ken Tota takes over temporarily at federal Office of Refugee Resettlement

Leaving some juicy stories not yet posted today, we’ve gotta take care of a little Washington inside baseball for our diehard readers.

Ken Tota, new ORR Director (for now).

Many of you know that there was some controversy involving the ‘Unaccompanied minors’ crisis that caused the head honcho at the Office of Refugee Resettlement to abruptly resign late last year.  We mentioned his resignation here.

Now the Department of Health and Human Services has announced his replacement (at least for now) and has chosen Ken Tota already holding a position in ORR to step into the job.

In keeping with the modus operandi in the refugee resettlement industry, Tota (see his bio) came to his federal job from one of the contractors.

Before entering civil service, Ken was the Cuban Haitian Program Coordinator for the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops (USCCB) in Washington, DC and Miami, FL.

He had also worked on the ‘Unaccompanied minors’ program at ORR.

These people just move shamelessly through the revolving door between government granting/contracting agency and private NGO contractor (some have moved back and forth several times!).  There really should be a law to make this practice completely illegal!

Here is the recent announcement of Tota’s appointment:

Dear colleagues:

As you may know, Eskinder Negash stepped down from his position as Director of the Office of Refugee Resettlement (ORR) at the end of January.

ORR Deputy Director Ken Tota will be Acting Director for ORR until a new Director is appointed.

In addition, Carl Rubenstein is stepping in as Acting Director for the Division of Refugee Assistance (DRA), following Mitiku Ashebir’s recent retirement.

ORR would also like to announce a new ORR Chief of Staff, Kate Wolff who will be working in the Office of the Director focusing on response planning and interdepartmental communications strategies. Kate brings five years of experience working at the Department, most recently as Special Assistant to Secretary Sebelius.

You may find a full directory of ORR Staff posted on our website, or call us at (202) 401-9246.

Thank you,


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