Under Trump, immigration officials want to destroy records pertaining to sexual assault of detained immigrants, taking away an avenue of justice from vulnerable people.
Under Donald Trump, the Immigration and Customs Enforcement agency (ICE) has become increasingly hostile and vicious toward immigrants, and its new plan is especially horrific.
ICE has submitted a new proposal that would allow the group to destroy records showing sexual assault of immigrants being held in detention centers. The agency is also asking to be able to destroy records pertaining to immigrants who have died in government custody.
ICE is part of the Department of Homeland Security, currently led by acting Director Elaine Duke. Trump has left the top spot vacant since choosing its former secretary, John Kelly, as his new chief of staff.
ICE made the request to the National Archives and Record Administration (NARA), which gives guidelines to federal agencies on how to maintain their records.
The ACLU reports that ICE wants to start “routinely destroying 11 kinds of records, including those related to sexual assaults, solitary confinement and even deaths of people in its custody.”
The records in question have been a part of investigating allegations of mistreatment within the immigration detention system for years. The ACLU calls it “disturbing” that the record destruction request is being made given “the Trump administration’s plans to increase the size and scope of the system substantially.”
Destroying these records on an advanced timetable would negatively impact efforts at enforcing transparency and accountability, which Trump has steadfastly opposed on other fronts.
The ACLU says that keeping these records available for a long time “is necessary for the public to understand and fully evaluate the operation of a system that is notorious for inhumane and unconstitutional conditions affecting hundreds of thousands of people every year.”
The move is right in line with Trump’s campaign to inflict maximum cruelty on the vulnerable, particularly undocumented immigrants. Trump has continually pushed for enforcement that has ripped families apart, and rounded up immigrants across the nation while using racist and hateful language to describe them.
Now, if they are abused or even killed, he’s working to make it harder for immigrants or their families to receive justice they deserve, no matter their status.