"I Want Them to Know We Suffer Here"

Preserving Records of Migrant Detention in Opposition to Racialized Immigration Enforcement Structures


  • Jennifer Hale Eagle The University of Arizona


Thousands of detainee abuse allegations against Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) have been documented since ICE was founded in 2003. However, few investigations occur, and they are often held internally. In 2017, ICE requested permission to destroy documents related to detainee abuse including violent assault, sexual assault, and death. The request remains under consideration by the National Records and Archives Administration. This proposal reflects a concerning pattern of anti-immigrant hostility that often intersects with race. Archivists must consider interventional archival practices to build collections that reflect the lives and histories of the disempowered through preserving their counternarratives to the official state narrative. This paper traces racialized border structures and their militarized apparatus to propose a new approach to the management and preservation of detainee abuse records.






Research Articles: Race and Power in Library and Information Studies