Three Prominent Whistleblowers Join Government Accountability Project’s Demand That Congress Step Up And Do More
WASHINGTON – Today, Government Accountability Project sent a letter to multiple congressional committees demanding further investigation into the detention practices and policies of the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) and Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) that violate the law and knowingly endanger immigrants.
The letter was addressed to the chairmen and ranking members of the House Committees on Oversight and Reform, the Judiciary, and Homeland Security and the Senate Committees on Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs and the Judiciary.
Following the letter’s release, three immigration whistleblowers backed the letter and amplified Government Accountability Project’s demand that Congress do more because of the failures of DHS oversight mechanisms. Specifically, they call for more for investigations and oversight.
In the letter, Government Accountability Project demands further investigation of abuses at the agency, including the irregular and excessive use of solitary confinement with mentally ill detainees and inadequacy of care at family detention centers. The organization pinpoints the collective failure of executive oversight mechanisms to fulfill their accountability function and calls on Congress to take up the mantle of legislative oversight and investigate and address whistleblower disclosures. It highlights Government Accountability Project’s concerns that 1) the recent DHS Office of the Inspector General (DHS OIG) report on ICE detainee treatment neglected to address significant whistleblower disclosures and identify and address systemic failures at the agency, and 2) that the DHS OIG and the Office of Civil Rights and Civil Liberties (CRCL) have utterly failed to investigate and address systemic problems with the provision of medical and mental health care at Family Residential Centers raised by its own subject matter experts.
Three immigration whistleblowers and current Government Accountability Project clients endorsed the letter’s message.
Ellen Gallagher, a current employee with DHS OIG, voiced her support for the letter:
“Thousands of civil immigration detainees continue to be ‘sentenced’ to solitary confinement where they are denied proper medical care and attention. This treatment violates the law and inflicts severe harm, at times resulting in death. Congress must step in, zealously and immediately, to fill the appalling gap in executive oversight. Failure to do so abandons detainees stuck without hope in concrete cells.”
Drs. Scott Allen and Pamela McPherson, whistleblowers who serve as contractors with the DHS’s Office of Civil Rights and Civil Liberties as medical and mental health subject-matter experts, said:
“Congress must do more to protect children and their families from serious harm resulting from government policies that prioritize detention over health and safety. We second Government Accountability Project’s call for expanded congressional oversight. As whistleblowers who warned the administration of specific risks of harm to children and their families, we have been distressed to see our most dire predictions unfold as conditions of confinement deteriorate. A year after we blew the whistle, the administration’s willful recklessness continues to threaten child health and safety including loss of life.”
Contact: Andrew Harman, Director of Communications
Phone: (202) 457-0034 ext. 156
Government Accountability Project
Government Accountability Project is the nation’s leading whistleblower protection organization. Through litigating whistleblower cases, publicizing concerns and developing legal reforms, Government Accountability Project’s mission is to protect the public interest by promoting government and corporate accountability. Founded in 1977, Government Accountability Project is a nonprofit, nonpartisan advocacy organization based in Washington, D.C