News Topic

Advocacy, Archives & Records

The AHA has recently signed onto¬†two comments posted to the National Archives and Records Administration website in response to a proposed records schedule that would classify a set of Customs and Border Patrol records as “temporary,” which would allow their destruction in as quickly as four years.

As proposed, the Department of Homeland Security would be permitted to destroy “records developed to track and monitor complaints that are or will be investigated by DHS Civil Rights and Civil Liberties regarding alleged violations of civil rights and civil liberties.” The proposal also includes only 25 year retention for additional records that include documents related to sexual assaults in prison. These records are comparable to the schedules identified in a lawsuit filed in March by the AHA along with the Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington and the Society for Historians of American Foreign Relations. As is often the case with records schedule retention policies the issues are complex, even arcane. Historians have the professional authority to argue for longer retention because of the value of such records for historical research.