CONTACT: Jordan Libowitz
202-408-5565 | [email protected]

Washington— The Department of Homeland Security (DHS) and Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) should be investigated for violating the Federal Records Act through the apparent disappearance and destruction of records linking immigrant children to their parents, according to a complaint filed today by Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington (CREW) with the Archivist of the United States. The complaint was also sent to the departments’ respective inspectors general.

This morning, the New York Times reported that “[r]ecords linking children to their parents have disappeared, and in some cases have been destroyed, according to two officials of the Department of Homeland Security, leaving the authorities struggling to identify connections between family members.” In hundreds of cases, Customs and Border Protection agents allegedly deleted the initial records in which parents and children were listed together as a family.

This would be a blatant violation of the Federal Records Act (FRA), which ensures the documentation and preservation of government records.

“Rarely, if ever, has a potential violation of the FRA had such grave implications,” CREW Executive Director Noah Bookbinder said. “The reportedly destroyed records bear directly on the lives of thousands of immigrants seeking entry to our country, threatening the permanent separation of parents from their children.”

Given such high stakes, it is imperative that the actions of DHS and HHS are investigated immediately. The lives of thousands of families literally hang in the balance.