5 things employers should know about workplace raids

Preview of Employer Rights and Responsibilities on Workplace Raids

In light of the order from acting director of Immigration and Custom Enforcement, or ICE, for his agents to increase workplace enforcement next year, it is more important than ever for employers educate themselves about workplace raids.

Read our new guide for employers on how to prepare for and handle a workplace raid. Click this link and then click Spanish or Chinese to find it in those languages. 

Here are five pointers:

1. You can take steps to prepare for a workplace raid.

Employers can ask people to volunteer to be responsible for interacting with ICE agents. The designated people will do two important things: determine if the agents have the right kind of warrant, and deny the agents entry if they don’t.

These people must be trained NOT to consent to a workplace search, and they must be able to correctly identify a judicial search warrant. Or you can train your whole staff on this and other topics.

Starting on July 1, 2018, California law will require employers to notify employees about upcoming federal document inspections and it will prohibit document reverification that is not required by federal law.

2. ICE has to have a judicial search warrant or express consent to enter private areas of a workplace.

You may have the right to keep agents out of your workplace. Effective Jan. 1, it will be against California law to provide voluntary consent to agents to enter nonpublic areas of a workplace without a judicial search warrant.

Do not succumb if agents use intimidation or fear tactics. ICE agents are NOT allowed to enter private areas of a workplace, such as the kitchen in a restaurant, if they do not obtain voluntary consent or have a judicial search warrant.

If agents present a warrant, ask to read it. Determine if it is a judicial search warrant. Administrative warrants and ICE warrants are not the same thing. ONLY a search warrant signed by a judge gives agents permission to enter private areas of a workplace.  

3. All workers have legal rights.

All workers, regardless of their immigration status, have legal rights, including the Fifth Amendment right to remain silent. We advise that workers exercise their Fifth Amendment right by telling ICE agents that they will not speak with them and want to speak to an attorney.

Workers should refrain from signing any documents presented by ICE agents until they have spoken with an attorney about the content of the documents.

4. You can document what ICE agents do during a raid.

It is within your rights to document ICE’s actions during a raid. This can provide evidence in case the agents act illegally. This is especially important if you did not consent to the search and the agents forcibly entered the workplace. While recording or writing things down, you should try to note the following:

  • Names of the agents
  • The number of agents
  • Agent badge numbers
  • Whether the agents carried and used weapons
  • Whether the agents blocked exits or restricted employees
  • The license plates on agents’ cars
  • Property taken
  • Who is questioned and what the agents ask
  • Who is detained
  • Personal details of agents using intimidation or force.

5. If any of your employees are detained, you can help them.

Following a raid, an employer should: Report it to a raid response network (details below) to help mobilize support for detained workers. And then notify the detained employees’ emergency contacts, if any. (Remember to request this information from your employees and keep it current.)

You also can try to determine where your employees are being detained by asking an agent at the scene. If the agent doesn’t tell you, you can check ICE’s detainee locator system (details below).

Employers also can choose to help their employees find a lawyer and post bond. Here’s more information:

Quick Escape