ICE Seeks To Destroy NARA Records Of Reported Abuses

Published: Tuesday, May 29, 2018 - 3:34pm
Updated: Tuesday, May 29, 2018 - 3:43pm
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The National Archives and Records Administration, or NARA, seems at first glance fairly innocuous. It’s a quiet library of countless records. Its mission is to plan and manage all government agency and department records — regardless of medium or format.

From PDFs to paper trails, NARA tells agencies like ICE, the CIA and NASA how they should store their records while also protecting the public interest, following the law and, at the same time, balancing security needs on sensitive topics found within the piles of information.

Last week, we brought you the story of a newly-released ACLU and Chicago Law report on what they say are records of immigrant youth abuses within the immigration system — something ICE denies. To create their report, the ACLU used Freedom of Information Requests to obtain 30,000 documents. All of those documents are managed by NARA.

Last year, ICE made a request of NARA: Let us destroy our records of sexual abuse and death in custody after 20 years and destroy records of solitary confinement after three years, which NARA initially approved.

That has raised some concerns for the ACLU. They said that, “it’s never a good thing when government agencies with a track record of abuse start talking about destroying records.”

But ICE is not the only agency that has made requests like this. To get more insight on some of these rules around the destruction of government files, The Show was joined by Lauren Harper, the director of communications at the National Security Archive, an independent research organization that uses FOIA laws to gather the largest repository of government documents outside the government itself.

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