What to Do When ICE Visits Your Company

calendar November 11, 2019

What to Do When ICE Visits Your Company

What are employers required to do if Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) officials raid a job site or ask to inspect your company records? 

For a long time ICE officials focused on deporting undocumented immigrants who were in jail or prison and avoided workplace enforcement. Under the current administration, ICE has shifted more of its focus to the workplace. Businesses here have high numbers of undocumented immigrants, which means that employers must know what to do in case of an ICE raid and how to be prepared.

  • Approximately 1/4 of the nations 11 million undocumented immigrants live in CA.
  • They currently live and work here often in agriculture, service industries and construction.
  • Some industries rely heavily on this group to remain competitive in the marketplace without them.

Although employers in all industry sectors should know what to do if ICE comes knocking, agricultural employers in particular, must prepare since ICE focuses heavily on this industry based on the volume of workers on dairy farms or agriculture.

To Ensure Compliance With Federal Law, employers Are Encouraged to Hire an HR Employee Experienced in ICE Laws or Engage a Consulting Expert on Immigration Laws.

Workplace Raids Require Warrants

Employers are required by law to allow ICE to conduct a raid if a court-ordered warrant has been issued. In this case, if ICE wants to search a workplace and has a warrant, they must be allowed in the parts of the workplace covered by the warrant.   

Without a warrant, there is no requirement for employers to open the workplace to ICE authorities, i.e.: arriving on a worksite on a "tip"-without a warrant-the employer may decide whether to grant access to ICE for an inspection. Employers should carefully read warrants as they detail what areas of the workplace are required accessible to ICE. Although ICE cannot search a job site without a warrant, they can ask to inspect records.

Inspection Notices Require Advance Notice

A notice to inspect employment records requires advance notice, and a physical raid requires a warrant. ICE may ask employers to inspect and verify the identity and employment eligibility documents of their employees. ICE may ask for Forms I-9, and other supporting documentation, such as a copy of the payroll, a list of current employees, Articles of Incorporation, and business licenses. The Notice of Inspection requires advance notice of the visit which gives employers time to gather the documents requested.   

Sanctuary Cities

Employers should know that even if their business is located in a sanctuary city or jurisdiction, federal laws govern immigration, not state or local authorities. All employers must comply with ICE requirements and warrants.   Even though the state has declared itself a sanctuary state...the federal immigration authorities are governed by the U.S. Constitution and U.S. immigration laws and the state can't undermine that or interfere in any way.

Seek Legal Help ...

If your firm is struggling with a possible ICE raid, you should meet with an attorney or contact a consulting firm in this field. If you get an ICE notice you certainly should speak with an attorney.  


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