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Historians Ask National Archives to Preserve Records on Treatment of Immigrants

July 30, 2018
 
 

The American Historical Association is urging the National Archives and Record Administration to oppose any "threats to the preservation of records relating to the treatment of immigrants by the U.S. Border Patrol and Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE)." The plea was prompted by ICE’s request that the National Archives approve a new timeline for saving or purging records about detainees. ICE is seeking to begin regularly destroying 11 kinds of records about detainee operations, including those on sexual assault and death (after 20 years).

The “potential historical significance of the events recorded in these records makes it incumbent upon [the archives] to ensure their preservation for the long term. The [archives] should require that all records of investigations related to detainees should be retained regardless of the outcome of the case,” reads a new open letter from James Grossman, executive director of the AHA, to David Ferriero, archivist of the U.S. Ferriero wrote on his blog last month that the records administration is reviewing public comments on the matter “and working with ICE to address them and revise the schedule accordingly.” Experts have been ordered to conduct a comprehensive review of all ICE schedules that relate to deaths and assaults of detainees in ICE facilities, he said.

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