The federal government has done everything but release a road map of what businesses U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement will raid to weed out illegal immigrants during President Donald Trump’s term of presidency.
This week, ICE officials made one of its first public splashes during Trump’s presidency, raiding 98 7-Eleven convenience stores in 17 states and Washington, D.C., making 21 arrests of people suspected to be in the country illegally. Stores in Pennsylvania and Maryland were included in the raids.
It’s a Trump administration warning shot to businesses across the country, in case they hadn’t heard the more muted warnings prior to Wednesday’s raids.
ICE Deputy Director (and acting director) Thomas D. Homan basically confirmed that notion in a statement after the raids:
“Today's actions send a strong message to U.S. businesses that hire and employ an illegal workforce: ICE will enforce the law, and if you are found to be breaking the law, you will be held accountable,” he said. “Businesses that hire illegal workers are a pull factor for illegal immigration and we are working hard to remove this magnet. ICE will continue its efforts to protect jobs for American workers by eliminating unfair competitive advantages for companies that exploit illegal immigration.”
Being prepared for an ICE raid has never been more important. To be just minimally prepared, employers should designate the employees who will interact with ICE in case of a raid or audit and train those employees on the appropriate way to interact with ICE.
These employees should be trained to read a judicial warrant to ensure that it’s valid and that ICE’s search complies with the scope authorized in the warrant. Additionally, these employees should understand how to document what ICE inspects and removes during a raid.
Employers should also consider engaging immigration counsel to assist with the preparations for ICE audits and raids. Immigration counsel also can assist employers in conducting “self-audits” to identify and fix Form I-9 compliance issues before ICE pays an unexpected visit.