What to Do if ICE Comes Knocking

Len Wilcox California Corner, Immigration


California Citrus Mutual (CCM) wants citrus growers and packers to be aware that U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) has ramped up immigration enforcement around the country. It is important to understand what to do if ICE comes to your place of business.

The ICE ramp-up began in mid-July with raids in the street and compliance actions in businesses. In the workplace, ICE has issued over 3,000 Notices of Inspection (NOI) initiating Form I-9 audits for companies. Aside from raids, the focus of workplace visits is on the employer’s compliance with immigration regulations rather than the employees in the workplace.

The legal group Saqui Law, a partner with CCM, issued recommended actions that employers should take if ICE makes a visit:

  • The manager onsite should stay calm and be cooperative with the agents but ask for identification and business cards.
  • Call the agency to confirm the agent’s identity.
  • A company representative should always accompany the agents whenever they are present in the facility and take notes about their actions.

ICE conducts both raids and audits. A raid requires a search warrant unless the site is within 25 miles of the border, the agents are in hot pursuit of an illegal immigrant, or the property is not being used for agricultural purposes. An advance notice is not required for a raid.

An audit typically is a NOI and provides 48 hours advance notice. The employer is required to inform employees of the NOI and post a notice within 72 hours of receipt. During the audit, you only need to provide the I-9 forms and do not need to allow agents to enter work areas.

During a raid, the agents will provide a search warrant which will describe where they are authorized to search. They are not entitled to search outside of this scope. No one with the company should hide employees, advise them to run or help them escape.

An information sheet with more information is available from the Saqui Law firm online here.

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About the Author

Len Wilcox

Correspondent at Large for Citrus Industry Magazine and AgNet West