Just hours before President Donald Trump took office in 2017, federal workers were busy pushing the “delete” button behind the scenes, according to a new report.
According to research conducted by the Sunlight Foundation, a nonpartisan, nonprofit organization that advocates for open government, the Obama administration deleted hundreds of speeches and statements that Immigration and Customs Enforcement had archived on its website, The Daily Caller reported.
The Sunlight Foundation discovered that these deleted files contained information on how the Obama administration handled some of the most pressing immigration issues, such as sanctuary cities, E-Verify and the treatment of migrant detainees.
In total, a staggering 190 documents were purged from ICE’s website.
“With a couple of clicks of a mouse, access to a federal government web resource containing 12 years of primary source materials on ICE’s history was lost,” the Sunlight Foundation wrote.
Speeches and transcripts dating back to 2004 were also deleted, according to the report.
“The removal of the ICE speeches collection represents the loss of a primary source history of the early days of ICE, dating back to its creation during the George W. Bush administration in 2003,” the Sunlight Foundation wrote.
Thomas Homan, the former acting ICE director and a Trump supporter, ended up one of the biggest losers in this deletion rampage.
In February 2016, Homan delivered a presentation to the Senate Judiciary Committee discussing the “Unaccompanied Minor Crisis.”
He told senators about how the Obama administration was working with ICE to manage — and ultimately end — the surge of illegal migrant children crossing the border.
Everything relating to this speech was deleted.
In May 2016, Homan attacked cities that claimed “sanctuary” status for illegal aliens, saying they put “the public at risk.” The transcripts for this were also deleted.
Homan has been a vocal supporter of Trump, appearing on Fox News multiple times to side with the president, most recently on the president’s plan to impose tariffs on Mexico if the country failed to clamp down on its own illegal immigration problems.
“I agree with the president 100 percent and I agree with the tariffs,” Homan said in an early June Fox appearance.
But why would someone delete all of this information?
While it’s not entirely clear, some have speculated that the Obama White House likely didn’t want to give the Trump administration any help in its fight for stronger borders.
“It is not inconceivable that an outgoing Democratic administration might want to avoid preserving these public stances for future scrutiny,” the Foundation wrote.
There’s no telling how much damage Trump would have been able to inflict against Obama and the Democratic Party if he had access to this vanished archive — but knowing the president, he’d be tweeting about it for days on end, making sure millions of Americans were informed.