March 21, 2020

DHS Medical Experts in Detention Health Send Letter to Congress on Immigrant Detention During the COVID-19 Pandemic

Government Accountability Project Clients Urge Release of Detainees Amidst Global Public Health Crisis

WASHINGTON – Yesterday, Government Accountability Project sent a letter to Congress and the White House Coronavirus Task Force on behalf of our clients Dr. Scott Allen and Dr. Josiah “Jody” Rich, who serve as medical subject matter experts in detention health for the Department of Homeland Security’s  Civil Rights and Civil Liberties. Their letter urges Congress to take immediate action to address the substantial danger to both immigrant and public health and safety posed by the spread of coronavirus within immigrant detention facilities. 

Drs. Allen and Rich are recommending better screening, testing and quarantine procedures; limiting the practice of transferring detainees; and implementing social distancing to reduce the likelihood of exposure to detainees, facility personnel, and the general public by releasing all detainees who do not present a danger to the public. 

Government Accountability Project Senior Counsel Dana Gold, attorney for Drs. Allen and Rich, commented,

“This is a public health emergency, and Congress and DHS need to act immediately to stop the spread of the coronavirus. As the entire country is implementing social distancing to slow the rate of infection, immigrants in detention present a source of extreme risk to not only the health of immigrant detainees, but to the public at large. We are grateful that Drs. Allen and Rich are speaking up to share their unique expertise as DHS’s own medical experts in detention health to combat this public health crisis roiling the nation.”

Contact: Dana Gold, Senior Counsel
Phone: (202) 457-0034 x160

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.