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What Should You Do If ICE Comes To Your Business

What Should You Do If ICE Comes To Your Business

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In the current political climate, many business owners are concerned about the prospect of Immigrations and Customs Enforcement (ICE) making a visit to their business. A visit from ICE can be a very worrying time especially given that many co-workers are also friends, tensions can run high. So what should you do if they do come knocking?

Why would ICE visit in the first place?

Before into more detail about what you should do if ICE does come and visit your business let’s take a look at some reasons why they may choose to do so. According to the National Immigration Law Centre, ICE may choose to visit a business for a couple of reasons:

  1. To visit a specific employee
    ICE may come to your premises if they suspect a specific employee is working or living illegally if this does happen it’s important to put emotions aside and stay on the right side of the law by never trying to hide employees or help them escape.
  2. To carry out an I-9 Audit
    An I-9 audit may be carried out by ICE to confirm the identity and right to work of all your employees. If you have followed correct hiring procedure then every employee should have already completed an I-9 form, make sure these are to hand in case ICE needs to see them.

What should you do if ICE visits?

The first thing you want to do when an ICE officer walks through the door is to call your lawyer, even if you believe you have done nothing wrong. You lawyer will be able to advise you and your managers about what to say to ICE officers and will make sure that the visit is conducted professionally. 

ICE officers are allowed to search public areas of your business but cannot enter private areas without a warrant, you may wish to ask to see a warrant to ensure that they are conducting an authorized search. With a warrant in hand, ICE can search even the private areas of your business such as your office, although this may seem like a breach of privacy it is important to stay calm and not to prevent the officers from conducting their search. You or an employee are allowed to legally photograph or film the search and this can be used as evidence if you suspect any wrongdoing. If the ICE officers take anything from your business then remember to ask for an itemized list of what is taken to keep track. 

What should you do if ICE detains one of your employees?

In the event that ICE detain one of your employees contact their family and pay any outstanding wages immediately, this could be very helpful to them and their family if they now need to contact an immigration lawyer or pay for immigration appeals

What can you do to prepare for a visit before it happens?

To prepare for an ICE visit the best thing you can do is know your rights. Talk to your employees to let them know that ICE may visit and then teach them what they can and can’t do legally if a visit does occur. Finally, to ensure your lawyer is called circulate a written ICE visit procedure to ensure that everyone follows protocol.

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