According to President Trump, ICE raids have begun. Do you, as an employer, know what to do if ICE shows up at your door? Below is a general overview of how to respond:
- ASK TO SEE THEIR WARRANT. While ICE agents, like any others, are entitled to enter your public areas, they must have a warrant to enter private work areas or to see files. Typically, ICE will have either a judicial search or administrative warrant, or both. A judicial search warrant entitles ICE to enter all areas of the workplace. An administrative warrant allows ICE access to employee files and information only. If ICE only has an administrative warrant, they are not entitled to search the premises or question employees without your authorization. By law, employers have three days with which to respond to an administrative warrant or subpoena, so you do not have to allow ICE to leave with your files or to make copies immediately for them.
- If ICE has a judicial search warrant, you must allow full access to the premises. It is strictly voluntary on the part of employers whether they will identify certain employees or provide any verbal communication about employees, their countries of origin or their immigration status.
- While employers are free to provide information or not to ICE agents, so too are employees. You can remind employees that they can choose whether or not to participate in ICE interrogations.
- Assign a trusted member of your management staff to accompany ICE agents at all times while in your workplace. They do not have to answer questions about employees, but they do have to facilitate access to work areas if ICE has a proper search warrant. The purpose of assigning a team member to accompany agents is to obtain an accurate record of events and actions taken by ICE while in your workplace.
- DO NOT DO ANYTHING UNLAWFUL. Regardless of personal views or irritation at disruption in the workplace, do not do anything to hinder the execution of a lawful warrant and instruct staff on the same. Do not try to hide employees who may be the target of the raid or prevent access to any area of the premises is ICE has the right to search. Obstructing a lawful ICE raid can wind up with civil or criminal charges against the employer or individuals involved in the alleged obstruction.
- If ICE detains any employees, notify their families immediately and advise them to consult with a lawyer.
- Similarly, employing immigrants who do not have proper documentation is also unlawful. Notify your attorneys immediately if any employees are detained as well as if you are presented with an administrative warrant or subpoena for your files.
- It goes without saying that it is always best to be respectful to ICE agents. Keeping calm will help control the disturbance and will allow you to make a thorough record of who was there and what happened.