When ICE Comes Knocking: What Our Client Employers Should Do

May 4th, 2018

ICE Immigration Raid Audit

An Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) Response ‘How To’ for ABR Clients

The federal government is tripling the number of Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) agents to increase worksite enforcement.  Worksite enforcement is typically done through worksite raids and I-9 audits.  Tom Homan, deputy director of ICE, at a press conference in Washington, D.C. in December said, “I want to see a 400% increase in work site operations.”

ICE raid – What Is It?

An unannounced search of the client’s worksite for the presence of undocumented employees and property that will be used as evidence that specific crimes have been committed.

ICE audit – What is It?

Typically, an ICE agent and an auditor will arrive unannounced at the employer’s worksite with a Notice of Inspection (NOI) to inspect I-9’s.  The agency can audit any business on a random basis or through tips from the public or other government agency.

What employer should do if ICE comes to worksite:

  1. Call your internal HR Department first; then notify your ABR Employment Services Representative
  2. Ask the ICE agent for identification
  3. Ask if it’s a raid or an audit

If raid – Ask if they have a warrant.

A valid warrant must be signed and dated by a judge. It will include a timeframe within which the search must be conducted, a description of the premise to be searched, and a list of items to be searched and seized.  Keep a copy of the warrant.


  • Write down the name of the supervising ICE agent and the name of the U.S. attorney assigned to the case.
  • Have at least one company representative follow each agent around the facility.  Document what is said and taken.
  • Although employees are not required to answer questions posed by an ICE agent, they may do so at their own discretion;  the company neither encourages nor discourages employees from doing so.

If audit

  • The NOI gives you 3 work days to produce the I-9 Forms.  Do not provide your documents early.
  • Tell the ICE agent that we will provide the I-9’s in three days.  Be polite, but do not answer any questions about processes or procedures.
  • Review all I-9’s for compliancy.

What to do now?

Make sure you are using the new I-9 form that has been required since 09/18/17.  It is suggested to also conduct a self-audit.  Employers are required by law to maintain, for inspection, an I-9 for all current employees.  In the case of former employees, retention of I-9’s are required for a period of at least three years from the date of hire, or for one year after the employee is no longer employed, whichever is longer.   It is best practice to not store I-9’s longer than legally required.  During an audit the employer is legally responsible for all I-9’s in their possession.

Further Learning

For more information on ICE Raids or ICE Audits, please read:

Via CNN – ICE pledges immigration crackdown on businesses.

Via The Washington Post – ICE raids meatpacking plant in rural Tennessee; 97 immigrants arrested

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