Can ICE Legally Destroy Immigrant Detention Records?

 If you are an undocumented immigrant, you already have plenty of worries.  No doubt you already have anxiety about Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) and their role.  Be that as it may, you may even be concerned about documentation concerning your detention.  Are your concerns warranted?  Can ICE legally destroy detention records?

Paper trails are meant to make all of us feel safe. They’re one of the last safeguards against mistreatment and dishonesty by anyone.  Without question, keeping things in writing pertains to an undocumented immigrant being detained. By the same token, it can apply to an everyday employee having a problem with his or her boss.

Last month, ICE took a bold and disturbing step toward stripping away important protections from millions of undocumented immigrants. According to an ACLU senior staff attorney, ICE wants approval of its proposed timetable to the way it handles records related to its detention operations. The request was made to the National Archives and Record Administration (NARA).  Alarmingly, the goal is to destroy records related to sexual assaults, solitary confinement and incidents of death among detainees.

More than likely, your goal is to get out of immigration detention as soon as possible.  Of course, that’s the reason you need to secure professional assistance to post an immigration bond.  However, in the meantime, the paperwork about your stay should remain available for inspection.

Why Are these Documents So Important?

Unfortunately, NARA has already provisionally approved destroying crucial records that may represent direct proof of mistreatment of undocumented immigrants by ICE officers. Last year there was an official recommendation from the General Accounting Office (GAO) that these kinds of documents be more carefully evaluated after serious lapses in recordkeeping. Destroying them represents a step backward from that line of thinking.

Imagine for a second that your sister has been detained.  For whatever reason, it’s a few days before you are able to post an immigration bond allowing her release until the hearing.  When she finally arrives home, you learn that she was sexually assaulted while at the detention center.

At that point, you speak with your attorney about your concerns.  Although your sister reported the assault, there is no record available.  The bottom line is that the documentation represents potential evidence. It may be critical to presenting the whole picture in cases where abuse is alleged by detainees. Destroying them seems to serve little purpose other than covering up mistakes made by ICE personnel.

 What Lack of Accountability Means for You and Your Family

These measures suggest that, in many circumstances, there will not be any records of the way detainees are treated by ICE agents. An agency that, for years, has been on the radar of human rights groups for the way it sometimes treats detainees will be even more protected from public review and scrutiny. I

If you or a loved one is detained, it’s imperative that you know your rights and obligations under the law. If you’re not sure about what your rights are, it’s important that you speak with an immigrant rights attorney or reach out to a community advocacy group to discuss your potential options.

Don’t Leave Yourself Open to Abuse and Mistreatment

Whatever ICE’s reason may be for wanting these records destroyed, Freedom Bail Bonds is here to ensure you don’t spend another minute longer in detention than you have to. We are your trusted and reputable one-stop shop for immigration bonds, and we are ready to help you and take that first step in sorting out your immigration issues and potentially avoiding deportation. The first step is securing your release. Contact us today.

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