Hours before President Trump took office, the Obama administration scrambled to purge 12 years worth of transcripts spanning hundreds of speeches from the Immigrations and Customs Enforcement (ICE) website, according to the Daily Caller‘s Jason Hopkins.
A collection of 190 transcripts of speeches on ICE’s website was deleted on Jan. 18 and late in the evening on Jan. 19, 2017, according to research conducted by the Sunlight Foundation, a nonpartisan organization that advocates for government transparency. Statements made by high-ranking ICE officials regarding controversial immigration topics such as sanctuary cities, E-Verify, treatment of detainees, and other issues were included in the reported deletions. –Daily Caller
“With a couple of clicks of a mouse, access to a federal government web resource containing 12 years of primary source materials on ICE’s history was lost,” wrote the Sunlight Foundation, adding that speeches dating back to 2004 were included in the purge.
The Caller notes that speeches from former acting ICE Director Thomas Homan were “prominently included in the deletion list,” including a February 2016 speech in front of the Senate Judiciary Committee in which Homan discussed that “Unaccompanied Minor Crisis,” which the Obama administration was grappling to manage at the southern border.
Another example cited by the Caller was a transcript from May 2016 in which Homan explained why sanctuary cities (and counties, and states) put “the public at risk,” according to the report.
The Sunlight Foundation offered the following commentary to explain the purge: “It is not inconceivable that an outgoing Democratic administration might want to avoid preserving these public stances for future scrutiny,” adding “The removal of the ICE speeches collection represents the loss of a primary source history of the early days of ICE, dating back to its creation during the George W. Bush administration in 2003.”