U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) officials
raided over 120 businesses in the first 5 days of 2018 in
their efforts to find undocumented workers. Between
2/11/18 and 2/15/18, ICE agents visited 122 businesses.
With the thousands of businesses in the U.S., these
numbers can give companies a false sense of security,
until your number is called.
The Trump 2019 budget calls for a 35% increase in civil
fines and potential criminal prosecution for companies
that hire undocumented workers.
You can take action now to limit your risk of an ICE raid:
#1 Ensure your I-9 forms are up-to-date and in their own
separate folder, not in individual employee files.
#2 Complete I-9 forms if any are lost or missing.
ICE uses 2 methods for inspecting a company:
A. An audit.
B. A raid.
The audit is the most common way you might end up
interacting with ICE. ICE will start the audit by sending
a Notice of Inspection, which asks you to produce certain
I-9 documents for inspection. ICE may also ask about
other information for current and former employees.
If you do receive this notice, be sure to contact your
attorney as you may be able to secure a short extension.
The audit primarily consists of verifying that your I-9
forms are properly completed.
Once the review is complete, ICE will inform you of the
The best result of the audit is that you are in full
compliance. With only minor violations, ICE may issue you
a notice of technical or procedural failure indicating
certain mistakes and giving you 10 business days to
correct them. If there are significant violations, there
will be monetary penalties.
In the event of a raid, ICE will walk in with a search
warrant and get to work. Be sure to copy the warrant and
send it to your attorney. Being cooperative is the most
important part of a raid and be sure not to (1) hinder the
work of the agents, (2) shred documents, (3) hide
employees, or (4) provide false information.
Many companies have a lackadaisical attitude toward
completion of the I-9 form. But like most other labor
relations issues, there is nothing like an investigation
from a federal or state agency to make a company get
serious about what seems like silly paperwork.