Comments on U.S. Customs and Border Protection Records Destruction Schedule

Comments on U.S. Customs and Border Protection Records Destruction Schedule

September 30, 2020

U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) is attempting to permanently destroy records related to civil rights complaints against the agency, administrative and criminal investigations into CBP officials' conduct, and records related to Prison Rape Elimination Act (PREA) allegations. On July 9, 2020, the National Archives and Records Administration (NARA) recommended CBP records destruction schedule be approved.

The American Immigration Council and a large and diverse coalition of organizations opposing this decision, citing a volume of evidence pointing to CBP abuse and misconduct and lack of accountability. The widely documented failures of DHS oversight mechanismsas well as the demonstrated historical significance of the recordssupport permanently retaining the records in the National Archives.

After these advocacy efforts, in a February 16, 2022 Request for Records Disposition Authority, NARA reversed course. The category of records, “Significant Internal Investigation Files,” now will be permanently preserved. These records include “files pertaining to national security, sexual assaults or abuse of detainees in CBP custody, critical incidents involving death or serious injury, public corruption, standards of detainee care, deprivation of civil rights under the color of law, matters attracting substantial media or Congressional attention, and misconduct on the part of senior agency officials.” 

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