National Archive to let ICE destroy documents

Photo: ctj71081 (CC BY 2.0)

We may never know the truth about the border crisis, writes Matthew Connelly, because the National Archives is letting millions of documents be destroyed.

President Trump has long made it a practice to tear up his papers and throw them away. It is a clear violation of the Presidential Records Act, which is supposed to prevent another Watergate-style cover-up. When the National Archives sent staff members to tape these records together, the White House fired them.

In 2017, a normally routine document released by the archives, a records retention schedule, revealed that archivists had agreed that officials from Immigration and Customs Enforcement could delete or destroy documents detailing the sexual abuse and death of undocumented immigrants. Tens of thousands of people posted critical comments, and dozens of senators and representatives objected. The National Archives made some changes to the plan, but last month it announced that ICE could go ahead and start destroying records from Mr. Trump’s first year, including detainees’ complaints about civil rights violations and shoddy medical care.

These documents include reports of detainee deaths and sexual abuse.

"Wherever books burn, human beings will also burn." – Heinrich Heine