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Synopsis: Live Panel – Zoom
Scheduled:
July 28, 2021
11:00 AM EST

Zoom Link (click on the title of the panel below to go to the live panel):

Whistleblowers & Immigration Justice: Challenges, Victories, and the Work Still to be Done

Dana Gold, Senior Counsel at Government Accountability Project, will discuss how immigration whistleblowers have been some of the most effective vehicles to defend and protect the most vulnerable–asylum seekers and immigrants in detention settings. She joins three of the most significant whistleblowers who spoke up about the harms to immigrants in detention: Dawn Wooten, a nurse whose brave disclosures about medical misconduct at Irwin County Detention Center, went viral, including the failure to protect detainees and staff from COVID-19, and women detainees undergoing unnecessary, non-consensual gynecological procedures; and Drs. Scott Allen and Pamela McPherson, medical and mental health experts in detention health for the Department of Homeland Security’s Office of Civil Rights and Civil Liberties, both recognized as heroes for disclosing systematic failures witnessed during their inspections of family detention centers that increase the foreseeable risk of harm to migrant children and families in detention.

Panelists:
Dana Gold (Moderator)
Dawn Wooten
Scott Allen
Dr. Pamela McPherson

Director's Bio

Dana Gold
Dana Gold is Senior Counsel and Director of Education of the Government Accountability Project. In addition to educating and developing strategic partnerships with diverse audiences to amplify support for whistleblowers and ensure their disclosures make a difference, she also serves as lead counsel for several Department of Homeland Security whistleblowers who have disclosed systemic risks and harm to immigrants, workers, and the public from immigration policies and practices. Over the past 25 years, Dana has represented and worked with dozens of whistleblowers on issues such as nuclear weapons risks, food safety, climate science censorship, banking fraud and illegal electronic surveillance. Her work has been featured in The Washington Post, Newsweek, Slate, The Hill, CNN, and WNYC’s On the Media.

Dawn Wooten
Dawn Wooten, a nurse at ICE’s (Immigration and Customs Enforcement) Irwin County Detention Center (ICDC) in Ocilla, Georgia, shined the light in 2020 on inadequate medical care at the facility, including failures to comply with COVID-19 guidelines to control the spread of the virus and hysterectomies performed on immigrant women with dubious consent. Her disclosures generated an avalanche of media coverage, congressional calls for investigations and multiple Hill briefings, organizing by the immigration justice community, multiple agency investigations, and a class action lawsuit of immigrant women seeking justice for being victims of unwanted medical procedures. Thanks in large part to Dawn Wooten’s bravery, ICDC was shut down in May 2021.

Dr. Scott Allen
Dr. Scott Allen is a national expert in immigrant detention health and serves as a medical health subject matter expert for the Department of Homeland Security’s Office of Civil Rights and Civil Liberties. Along with his colleague, Dr. Pamela McPherson, Dr. Allen spoke out about systematic problems they witnessed during their inspections of family detention centers that increase the foreseeable risk of harm to migrant children and families in detention. In 2020, Dr. Allen and Dr. Josiah Rich warned DHS and Congress about the risk to immigrants, workers and the public from the spread of COVID-19 in ICE detention. Drs. Allen and McPherson have been recognized by both Physicians for Human Rights and the prestigious Ridenhour Prize for Truth-Telling as heroes for their whistleblowing, and their warnings to the current administration have been covered recently in an article by the The New York Times.

Dr. Pamela McPherson
Dr. Pamela McPherson serves as a mental health subject matter expert for the Department of Homeland Security’s Office of Civil Rights and Civil Liberties. Along with her colleague, Dr. Scott Allen, Dr. McPherson spoke out about systematic problems they witnessed during their inspections of family detention centers. They have issued warnings to the Obama administration, throughout the Trump administration, and most recently to the Biden administration about the grave harms of child detention. Drs. Allen and McPherson, recognized by both Physicians for Human Rights and the prestigious Ridenhour Prize for Truth-Telling as heroes for their whistleblowing, have appeared on 60 Minutes and their warnings to the current administration have been covered recently in an article by the The New York Times.

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