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    Wednesday, August 30, 2017

    ICE Tries To Destroy Records Documenting Abuses Of Those In Its Custody

    In an administration defined by its lawlessness, only Trump himself outdoes the cruelty and disregard for humanity at ICE and CBP. And just as Trump's pardon of Joe Arpaio was a direct attack on our judicial system, now ICE and CBP are trying to literally become a law answerable to no one.

    According to the ACLU, ICE is currently trying to get permission to destroy all sorts of records about what happens to people in its custody. Those records include information about sexual assaults and even deaths that occur while in ICE custody. Other records include information on solitary confinement, regular detention logs, complaints about ICE abuses, and alternatives to detention. The time frames for these record destructions range from 20 years for deaths and sexual assault to 3 years for solitary confinement.

    As Charles Pierce points out, there is no good reason that these records should be destroyed. "It's purely inhumane ass-covering for purely inhumane offenses. Who profits from the destruction of records relating to sexual assaults except the perpetrators and the guards who were supposed to stop them, but who, either through negligence or worse, failed to do their jobs?" Of course, the fact that the victims who are detailed in these records that will be destroyed are not citizens should not go unnoticed.

    Worse, it appears that ICE may get its wish as the agency that oversees the records issue, the National Archives and Record Administration (NARA), seems inclined to allow this, saying the records "do not document significant actions of Federal officials" and, regarding sexual assault, that the "information is highly sensitive and does not warrant retention." The idea that death while in custody does not document significant actions of federal officials or that sexual assault information does not warrant retention is laughable on its face but frankly a frightening position for the government to take. But it is certainly in keeping with the authoritarian inclinations of the Trump regime.

    As the ACLU summarizes, "If the Trump administration has its way, the number of immigrants in detention will increase, detention conditions will deteriorate further and more people will be subjected to life-threatening circumstances and denied their most basic rights. ICE shouldn’t be allowed to purge important records and keep its operations out of the public eye." Without records, the lawlessness at ICE will only continue and grow.

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