What To Do If ICE Agents Go To Your Workplace

By Reuben S. Seguritan

June 7, 2017


If Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) agents arrive at the place of work of an undocumented immigrant, he should be aware of his rights granted by the United States Constitution.


ICE agents have conducted raids in offices and other workplaces in the country. In Los Angeles, a man was arrested at the Walmart where he worked. Immigration officials have confirmed that agents have raided workplaces in many cities and states including Atlanta, Chicago, New York, North Carolina and South Carolina, and arrested hundreds.


These raids should underscore the need for undocumented immigrants to know their rights when ICE agents confront them at work.


First, the ICE agents must have a valid search or arrest warrant signed by a judge with the person’s name correctly spelled and the correct address of the place of work. The clear consent of the employer of the undocumented immigrant must be given in order for them to enter the place of work.


If the undocumented immigrant is questioned by the ICE agents, he may remain silent and not answer any questions. He need not give any other information such as his address or immigration status to the ICE agents. If he does decide to speak to the ICE agents, he must not lie or show any false documents or documents with false information because these would be felonies.


If he is asked to be grouped according to immigration status, he is not required to move to an area designated for a particular group.


Every person is entitled to speak to a lawyer, especially before speaking to any ICE agent. Furthermore, even if this is not mandatory, it is best for any person to seek the help of a lawyer in order to ensure that he is represented and his rights are protected.


If the ICE agents do enter the workplace, the undocumented immigrant might feel threatened or scared. It is important to stay calm and not to panic and run away. If the ICE agents stop him, he may ask if he can leave the premises. If they say no, he must not leave and may remain silent and ask to speak to a lawyer.


Employers, however, are required by the Immigration Reform and Control Act (IRCA) to verify the identity and immigration status of employees they hire after  November 6, 1986. They are required to accomplish an Employment Eligibility Verification Form or “I-9” form for each employee. This is because the IRCA made it illegal for an employer to hire a person who is not authorized to work in the United States.


Once the I-9 Form is completed, there is no need for the employee to show his documents, much less to leave them with his employer. The only exception is when the law requires the employer to re-verify the employee’s status.