Ellen Gallagher

Ellen Gallagher is a former policy adviser at the Department of Homeland Security’s Office of Civil Rights and Civil Liberties (DHS-CRCL) and current employee at DHS’ Office of the Inspector General. She has blown the whistle on Immigration and Customs Enforcement’s (ICE) use of solitary confinement on mentally ill and medically vulnerable adults across the 200+ immigration detention facilities in clear violation of federal laws and detention standards. Gallagher first reported her concerns internally to DHS and the DHS Office of the Inspector General; she also filed a complaint about the abuses with the Office of Special Counsel. When the agencies failed to adequately address her allegations, Gallagher also sought assistance from Congress to pursue the issues.Gallagher, having reported these concerns repeatedly for years only to see abuses from ICE escalate as detention increased under the administration’s “zero-tolerance” immigration policy, finally sought to bring public attention to the issue, speaking with The Intercept and NBC News. Government Accountability Project now represents Gallagher as she seeks institutional change to reform the reprehensible treatment of immigrants within the U.S. immigration system.