The controversy over the seizure of migrant children and another that is unfolding over the harsh treatment of the 39,000 detainees in the custody of Immigration and Customs Enforcement has obscured a battle raging largely off the public’s radar: whether ICE should be allowed to destroy its official records of the physical and sexual abuse of … detainees.
ICE’s plans, first submitted to the National Archives and Records Administration in 2015 with revisions in 2017, set off a minor furor; the American Civil Liberties Union last year gathered more than 24,700 signatures in opposition to ICE’s proposal and others, including members of the U.S. House and Senate, complained as well.
ICE is still tinkering with its proposal and has not abandoned its request for permission to destroy its records despite fierce opposition from such groups as the American Historical Association…
The proposal is troubling for a couple of reasons. NARA has a nasty habit of rubber-stamping controversial document destruction plans like this one. The other is that the records, even if they are biased in ICE’s favor, can substantially corroborate the reports of harsh detention conditions that are emerging. One advocacy group, Freedom for Immigrants, counted 800 allegations of abuse motivated by hate or bias since President Donald Trump took office.