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ICE Visits for Employers

February 8, 2024

There are 2 types of worksite visits by ICE. 

Call and email the company immigration lawyer immediately if an ICE official visits the worksite.

Type 1: ICE Raid: ICE Raids are when ICE agents go to a worksite without warning as part of an investigation into an employer. These investigations are more likely to have ICE officials with uniforms saying “Police” or “Federal Agent”. They may carry guns. Sometimes local police officers go with ICE agents on ICE raids. 

How to Handle an ICE Raid: 

  1. ICE officials are not permitted to enter a private area of the business unless they have 1 of the following:
    1. Permission from a company representative to enter the private business OR
    2. Valid judicial search or arrest warrant signed by a judge. A judicial warrant must say “U.S. District Court” or a State Court at the top. 
  2. Before ICE visits a worksite, the company should decide ahead of time how it wants to handle these types of visits. All employees should know the plan before the ICE visit occurs.
    1. The company should select a point person(s) to speak with ICE officials. No one else should speak with them.
    2. We recommend that all employees know the phrase, “I can’t give you permission to enter. You must talk to my employer.” This sentence should be followed by silence.
    3. The point person should say:
      1. “What kind of visit is this?” (I-9 audit, ICE raid, etc.)
      2. “Do you have a judicial warrant? If so, give it to me.”
        1. At that time, the point person should make a copy or take a picture with a phone and analyze the warrant to see if it is signed by a judge and from a Federal or state court.
        2. Sometimes, ICE agents try to use an administrative warrant to enter. But an administrative warrant does NOT allow agents to enter private areas without the company’s permission. Administrative warrants are not from a court. They say “Department of Homeland Security” and are on Forms I-200 or I-205. This type of warrant is not valid for entering a private business. 
      3. If the warrant is not from a Federal or state court and signed by a judge, “You cannot enter this private business without a warrant. Please leave.” 
    4. If the company decides that the warrant is valid, the company may request that ICE provide proof of identity including names/ID badges. The company may write down the name and employee numbers of the ICE officials and may request a photocopy of the official’s ID card or badge. 
    5. ICE officials during ICE Raids are usually looking for a particular person or people.  There may have been a report from an individual providing a “tip” to ICE that persons without work authorization or lawful status are employed at this worksite. 
    6. The ICE officials may try to speak with present individuals, ask questions, and, occasionally, arrest individuals. 
    7. If the point person reviews the judicial warrant and determines that it is valid, the company should encourage employees to stay calm. The point person should review the warrant to make sure that the officials are only searching for the limited items/persons mentioned in the warrant.
    8. Employees should follow these instructions:
      1. Do not help ICE sort individuals by ethnicity or country of birth. 
      2. It is acceptable, and encouraged, to film or record the encounter on a phone or other device. 
      3. When an ICE official speaks to an individual, the individual best protects their rights by responding only with, “I need to speak with my attorney.”
      4. If the official arrests any workers, ask where they are being taken and any contact information about the location (whether it is a jail or immigration authority, etc.). 

Type 2: Form I-9 Audit: A Form I-9 audit is when ICE comes to a business to check the business followed the rules for Form I-9. Form I-9 confirms a worker’s identity and authorization to work in the U.S. 

  1. A warrant is not required for an I-9 audit.
  2. Immigration officials will issue a Notice of Inspection 3 days before the audit, which will require the employer to send the requested items or have the ICE official review them at the worksite.
    1. This request should be immediately given to the point person (mentioned above) to begin preparing the request. 
  3. When the ICE officials return in 3 days, the company may request that ICE provide proof of identity including names/ID badges. The company may write down the name and employee numbers of the ICE officials and may request a photocopy of the official’s ID card or badge.
    1. The company should request a written notice explaining the next steps and how to follow up with the authorities, including names, phone numbers and emails. 
  4. If ICE determines that there may be I-9 violations, the company may face civil and criminal penalties and fines.
    1. After reviewing the I-9 forms, ICE may find some employees are not authorized to work. If that happens, ICE will give the company 10 days to provide valid work authorization for these employees. If the company can’t provide the documents by that time, the company will be told to end their employment.
    2. The company must notify these employees right away.
    3. The company may ask ICE for more time to comply with the request.