With news of US Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) agencies raiding nearly 100 7-Eleven stores across 17 states in the US demanding employment verification from managers, TerraLex recently asked me to discuss what considerations employers and employees should keep top of mind if an onsite raid occurs. Here is my response for a TerraLex publication:
The best way for US employers to prepare for an Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) raid is to preemptively conduct an internal audit and address potential violations. Employers should start with an I-9 audit which will help identify, to the extent possible, whether employees are authorized to work in the United States. Employers should assess existing I-9s, create compliance policies and procedures, and ensure that HR staff members are trained accordingly. Since the purpose of an ICE raid is to ensure that all workers are authorized to work in the US, employers should prepare for the possibility of ICE raids by ensuring US employment authorization of all of their employees, as well as proper documentation through I-9 compliance.
Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) raids are stressful and emotional events. It is difficult for employers and employees to stay calm and thoughtful, although that is the best course of action. Employers should carefully review warrants to understand the allowable scope of the search, and ensure proper timing. Attorneys should be contacted immediately, and if possible, be present. Without being confrontational or getting in the way, a member of the HR team should document what takes place, which employees if any are detained, and which documents are collected.