October 1, 2020


Statement from Government Accountability Project on ICE’s Enforcement Blitz

WASHINGTON—This week the Washington Post reported that the Trump administration is preparing an immigration enforcement blitz in U.S. cities and jurisdictions that have adopted “sanctuary” policies. This action will include U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) Agency officials sending out an increased number of agents into these “sanctuary” cities to arrest immigrants suspected of criminal or immigration law violations. 

Government Accountability Project’s ICE detention whistleblower clients have decried ICE’s inability to protect immigrants, workers, and the public from the spread of COVID-19. DHS’s own subject matters in detention health, Drs. Scott Allen and Josiah Rich, raised the alarm to Congress in March 2020, and their warnings have been validated by anonymous whistleblowers at the Richwood detention facility in Louisiana, and most recently by nurse Dawn Wooten of the Irwin County Detention Center. Two reports released by Congress at the end of September 2020 condemned ICE and its contractors’ failure to meet minimum standards of care. 

Dana Gold, Senior Counsel at the Government Accountability Project, attorney for the immigration whistleblowers and the director of its new Democracy Protection Initiative, said, 

“In the face of clear evidence of the dangers posed by the unmitigated spread of COVID-19 in ICE detention, starting up arrests again knowingly endangers immigrants, workers and the public for overtly political ends. This ‘Sanctuary Op’ is an abuse of agency power that appears to target Democrat-led cities in service of  the administration’s ‘law and order’ election agenda. Inappropriately using ICE for political ends not only endangers public health, but it undermines the integrity of democracy itself.”

Government Accountability Project is deeply concerned that the rampant politicization of governmental agencies poses a direct threat to our country’s democracy. Through our Democracy Protection Initiative, ICE and other agency employees concerned about abuses of power can, like the DHS contractor immigration whistleblowers who have raised the alarm about medical neglect and harm in ICE detention, choose to speak up about threats to election integrity and a peaceful transition of power if the electorate were to vote for change.  We are committed to educating employees of conscience about their legal rights and providing pro bono representation, knowing that whistleblowers are essential to exposing corruption, promoting accountability, and protecting the public’s fundamental interest in a free and fair election. 

Contact: Andrew Harman, Communications Director
Email: [email protected]
Phone: (202) 457-0034 x156

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.