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HHS official overseeing unaccompanied minors program to step down, spokesperson says


By Priscilla Alvarez, CNN

The head of the federal agency charged with the care of unaccompanied migrant children is stepping down, according to a Health and Human Services Department spokesperson.

Cindy Huang, who helmed the Office of Refugee Resettlement, is transitioning out of her role through the end of the month as the Biden administration prepares for an increase in migrant arrivals next month. The agency, which also works on refugee resettlement and falls under HHS, came under intense scrutiny last year when a surge of unaccompanied migrant children at the US-Mexico border caught the administration flat footed.

While the number of minors arriving at the US-Mexico border has dropped since last spring, it remains high. In March, more than 14,100 migrant children arrived at the US-Mexico border without a parent, according to data from US Customs and Border Protection.

“The Department of Health and Human Services is deeply grateful to Cindy Huang for her tremendous contributions and committed leadership at the Office of Refugee Resettlement. Cindy’s vision and dedication have been critical to faithfully carry out ORR’s legal responsibility of caring for unaccompanied children and providing services to refugees and other eligible populations, including Afghans,” an HHS spokesperson said in a statement, adding: “Cindy has been an inspiring example to everyone who worked with her as the agency faced some of its biggest challenges.”

It’s unclear who will assume Huang’s role once she departs.

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