Recently, President Trump announced that the federal government intends to resume immigration sweeps. These raids may occur in immigrant communities, public places or jobsites. While the thought of an immigration raid at your place of employment may be frightening, you should prepare yourself for a change in enforcement.
The Immigration Reform and Control Act of 1986 prohibits employers from knowingly hiring unauthorized workers. Pursuant to federal law, agents from Immigration and Customs Enforcement may come on-site to determine employer compliance. Before you see ICE agents at your business, you should understand what happens during an ICE raid. While each raid is a bit different, you may plan for the following things to occur.
1. Agents surround your business
Armed ICE agents and other officers may surround your business. In doing so, immigration officials prevent anyone from leaving the premises. Agents are also likely to serve a search warrant on someone at your company. The warrant should tell you which individuals or property officers plan to search.
2. Agents provide instructions
Immigration authorities likely want to speak to employees and company representatives. They may ask you to stop business processes and move employees into an isolated area.
3. Agents investigate
During most ICE raids, the government has a team of investigators. Some officers may ask employees questions about their immigration status. Other agents may look through company files or computers to determine if you have knowingly employed unauthorized workers.
4. Agents review documents
To determine if employees have legal authorization to work in the United States, officers may ask employees for proof of their work eligibility. If employees do not have immigration documents with them, agents may ask HR staff to retrieve copies of documents from the company’s I-9 files. They may also ask those they suspect of lacking work authorization to contact family members to bring proof of immigration status.
5. Agents arrest employees
Some employees may not be able to prove their immigration status during an ICE worksite raid. If someone in your organization cannot satisfy authorities that he or she has authorization to live and work in the United States, authorities may make an arrest. If they suspect company officials of breaking the law, ICE officers may also arrest them.
6. Agents issue receipts
If immigration authorities take company property, they should leave you with a list of everything they seize. They also should leave a list of any employees or company representatives they arrest.
You may not be able to stop an immigration raid from occurring at your business. You can, however, understand how sweeps usually unfold. Once you know how immigration agents interact with company officials and representatives, you can likely better plan for worksite enforcement within your organization.