Stopping the Destruction of ICE's Records on Abuse and Mistreatment of People in Detention


August 7, 2020

The American Immigration Council and partners filed this amicus brief in CREW et al., v. National Archives and Records Administration et al., in support of the challenge by Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington, the American Historical Association and the Society for Historians of American Foreign Relations to NARA’s approval of the records destruction scheduled proposed by Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE). This records destruction schedule encompasses records that relate to troubling aspects of immigration detention, such as the use of solitary confinement, sexual abuse and questionable deaths. 

This case implicates two longstanding and interrelated concerns with U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE):

  1. A history of mistreatment of individuals in ICE detention and a profound lack of transparency regarding this mistreatment. The records at risk of destruction in this case go to the heart of harmful and little understood ICE policies in place within ICE detention facilities such as the use of solitary confinement. These records provide a comprehensive assessment of “problems and concerns” related to the operation of ICE detention facilities in the form of detention monitoring assessments.
  2. The sexual abuse and assault and deaths of individuals in detention. The records are powerful reminders of the potential fate of individuals held in ICE’s civil immigration detention system.

In the amicus brief, the Council and partners documented the reliance on these records by researchers and advocates to monitor and expose these troubling practices. The amicus addresses the need for the preservation of these ICE records as a matter of transparency and accountability.

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