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Pocan Demands ICE Preserve Records of Immigrant Abuse

Mar 31, 2020
Press Release

MADISON, WI U.S. Representatives Mark Pocan (WI-02) today sent a letter to U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) and the National Archives and Records Administration (NARA) demanding they not proceed with destroying records detailing the mistreatment and abuse of immigrants detained in their custody.

Records of ICE’s now infamous history of mistreating immigrants are a necessary tool in uncovering the agency’s abuse and malpractice on behalf of the Trump administration and NARA is now threatening to destroy those archives. Documentation slated to be destroyed includes information on detainee deaths, sexual assault and abuse, civil rights violations, inhumane solitary confinement practices and violations of ICE’s own detention standards.

“At a moment when the American public is demanding full transparency of the government’s actions, allowing ICE to destroy records of its abuses is wholly unacceptable,” said Congressman Pocan. “As a Congressman, I cannot hold this cruel agency accountable if I have no records of their cruelty. This is a blatant attempt to erase the Trump administration’s racist and inhumane immigration policies. There is no excuse that would make this decision tolerable. NARA needs to cease its partisan antics and do its duty to preserve our nation’s records—good and bad.”

See the full letter below and here.


 

March 31, 2020

 

The Honorable David S. Ferriero

Archivist of the United States

National Archives and Records Administration

700 Pennsylvania Avenue NW

Washington, DC 20408

Matthew T. Albence

Acting Director

U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement

500 12th Street, SW

Washington, DC 20536

 

 

Gary M. Stern

General Counsel

National Archives and Records Administration

700 Pennsylvania Avenue NW

Washington, DC 20408

 

Tony H. Pham

Principal Legal Advisor

U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement

500 12th Street, SW

Washington, DC 20536

 

Dear Mr. Ferriero, Mr. Albence, Mr. Stern and Mr. Pham:

I write to urge you not to proceed with Immigration and Customs Enforcement’s document destruction schedule. By law, the National Archives and Records Administration may only approve an agency’s proposed document destruction schedule if the documents “do not, or will not after the lapse of the period specified, have sufficient administration, legal, research or other value to warrant their continued preservation by the Government.”[1] As a Member of Congress, I rely on access to Immigration and Customs Enforcement’s (ICE) records that would be destroyed this year under this place to conduct oversight of the agency’s activities. Because the records continue to have legal and research value to Members of Congress, you must not move forward with the schedule of document destruction. 

Without access to the records set to be destroyed under ICE’s plan, it would be impossible to fulfill my obligation to hold ICE accountable for abuse and mistreatment of its detainees. ICE’s document destruction schedule would allow the agency to destroy documentation of detainee deaths, sexual assault and abuse, civil rights violations, inhumane solitary confinement practices and violations of its own detention standards. As a Member of Congress, holding ICE accountable for such abuses is an important part of my job, and I cannot effectively do my job if ICE and NARA move forward with destroying these documents. I urge you to abandon your document destruction schedule.

Sincerely,

Mark Pocan

Member of Congress

 

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[1] 44 U.S.C. § 3303(3)