The Sunlight Foundation, a nonpartisan organization for government transparency, conducted research that shows just hours before Donald Trump entered into the office of the president, Obama's administration deleted hundreds of speeches and statements. The deleted material, based on the Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) website, contained a collection of 190 transcripts of speeches.
Research shows that the deletion of the material was made between January 18 and late in the evening of January 19, 2017. Also included were statements by high-ranking ICE officials that were in regard to controversial hot button immigration topics such as sanctuary cities, E-Verify, and treatment of detainees.
The Sunlight Foundation stated that with a few mere clicks of the mouse, information, and access to a resource on the web that contained 12 years of primary source materials, as far back as 2004, were lost for all time. Prominently included in the list of deleted speeches, was that of Thomas Homan, former acting ICE director who was a public supporter of Trump's immigration policies.
Also listed amongst those files deleted was a speech delivered, in February 2016, by Homan to the Senate Judiciary Committee. In the address, Homan at the time was the executive associate of Enforcement and Removal Operations, and he spoke of the then "Unaccompanied Minor Crisis." Lawmakers were updated on how the agency, along with then-president Obama, were working to somehow manage the surging of what were young illegal children that were reaching our southern border in masses.
Another file that was confirmed to have been deleted contained a May 2016 transcript, again by Homan, detailing how the use of sanctuary jurisdictions put “the public at risk.” There were less controversial speeches that were found to have been axed as well.
The Sunlight Foundation stated that it was not yet clear why the Obama administration had chosen to have deleted these particular transcripts, and ICE as of yet has made no comment on the incident. Even though it is well known that most outgoing administrations will make changes of a routine nature to their websites, these changes are usually for more of a “historical or political” purpose.
The Foundation did state that the removal of these ICE speeches does indeed represent a loss of what is deemed primary history of the very early days of ICE, dating back to 2003, when it was first created by the then-president George W. Bush's administration.
So, what’s the verdict—you decide.
Was malfeasance actually at work with the deletion of the pertinent information?