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November 26, 2019

Researchers: U.S. Immigration Data Missing or Misleading
By Lorelai Laird

On Halloween, Syracuse University put out a report that was not the fun kind of scary. The university’s Transactional Records Access Clearinghouse (TRAC) wrote that the agency that runs the U.S. immigration courts appears to have been “silently but systematically deleting records” for about a year. TRAC is a small research center that for years has collected and published federal immigration data using Freedom of Information Act requests. Although its work touches on some controversial topics, TRAC has generally taken an academic, nonpartisan tone in its reports. A government response to TRAC’s request for immigration court data came back garbled in early October. That’s one reason the Halloween report—and a follow-up published November 4—have raised some eyebrows. TRAC isn’t sure whether the records were intentionally deleted. The agency, the Justice Department’s Executive Office for Immigration Review (EOIR), denies deleting any records.

Transactional Records Access Clearinghouse, Syracuse University
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