NARA Issues Update on Review of ICE Records Disposition

July 5, 2018—In a June 27 blog post by Archivist of the United States David Ferriero, the National Archives and Records Administration provided an update on the status of its review of the proposed Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) records schedule for records related to detainees held in ICE detention facilities. Ferriero notes:

As part of the regular process of reviewing the submission from ICE, NARA received an unprecedented number of comments. Comments under review by NARA include three congressional letters with a total of 36 signatures (29 house members, 7 senators); a petition from the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) with 23,758 comments, a petition from UltraViolet with 1,475 signatures; written comments from 187 individuals and six organizations; and phone calls from seven individuals. Comments were received via and postal mail, and gathered from other sources such as the main National Archives email address, web inquiry forms, the National Archives Office of Inspector General, and from NARA employees who received comments directly from concerned citizens.

He continues:

After the public comments have been assessed and the comprehensive review is complete, NARA will require ICE to make all changes to the proposed schedule. Our plan is to publish a public notice via the Federal Register responding to all comments. We will make all reasonable efforts to notify interested individuals, such as media outlets that previously contacted us, the ACLU, and commenters who directly provided substantive comments.

On August 24, 2017, NARA issued via the Federal Register notice of a call for public comment on the ICE records schedule. At the request of an individual member in September 2017, the SAA Executive Committee reviewed the appraisal criteria and the overall process and—given the myriad of confidentiality issues as well as duplication of information in the records—determined that SAA would not comment on the specific issue at that time. They noted, however, that individual archivists could respond to the call for public comment. The Executive Committee’s discussion was informed by SAA member Brad Houston’s nuanced review of these complex records issues. (Houston is the City Records Officer, City of Milwaukee, Wisconsin.)

The SAA Council issued its Statement on the Value and Importance of Transparency in Government in October 2017.

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