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Responding to ICE Workplace Search Warrants

By Spodek Law Group | July 19, 2023
(Last Updated On: October 17, 2023)

Last Updated on: 17th October 2023, 10:57 pm

Responding to ICE Workplace Search Warrants

Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) workplace raids have become increasingly common in recent years. As an employer, it’s important to understand your rights and responsibilities when ICE shows up at your workplace. This article provides practical guidance on how to respond professionally and legally if ICE officers arrive at your business with a warrant.

Before a Raid

The best defense is a good offense. Here are some proactive steps you can take to prepare for a potential ICE raid:

  • Know Your Rights: Educate yourself and employees on rights when interacting with ICE. Key principles: ICE needs warrant to enter non-public areas; employees have right to remain silent; and employers shouldn’t impede ICE investigations. [1][2]
  • Develop Policies: Have clear, written policies for responding to ICE investigations. Train managers on proper protocols. Make sure policies comply with federal/state laws. [2]
  • Build Relationships: Establish rapport with local ICE field office. Discuss expectations and protocols for raids. Get contact info for leadership. [2]
  • Review Documents: Ensure I-9 forms and supporting docs are in order. Consult with legal counsel about anything out of compliance. [1]
  • Create Communications Plan: Have strategy to quickly notify employees of ICE presence. Designate spokespeople to interact with ICE and media. [2]

During a Raid

Despite best efforts, ICE may still show up at your workplace unannounced. Here’s how to respond:

  • Stay Calm: Don’t panic. Be professional. Ask for business cards and written notice. Inform ICE you are cooperating fully. [1]
  • Notify Leadership: Quickly contact owner, legal counsel and anyone else who needs to know. Execute call tree to inform employees. [2]
  • Request Warrant: Ask to see (and make copy of) judicial search warrant with judge’s signature. Verify it is for your address. [1][2]
  • Do Not Consent: Make clear you do not consent to search of non-public areas absent a valid warrant. Do not physically impede agents. [1]
  • Escort Agents: Assign employees to accompany ICE, observe actions, take notes. Ensure agents don’t exceed warrant. [2]
  • Protect Employees: Advise workers right to remain silent. Do not attempt to hide anyone or encourage escape. [1][2]
  • Document Everything: Record badge numbers, number of agents, interviewees, actions, items seized, etc. [1][2]
  • Contact Legal Counsel: Keep them updated in real time. Seek guidance on protecting rights of company and employees. [2]

After a Raid

Once ICE leaves your premises, your response isn’t over. Follow up with these important actions:

  • Debrief Employees: Reassure them. Explain next steps. Provide mental health resources if needed. [2]
  • Review Documentation: Analyze notes, photos, video footage to build record of what transpired. [1]
  • Consult Attorney: Assess potential liability issues. Explore legal options to protect company and workers. [2]
  • Initiate Complaints: If rights violated or agents exceeded warrant, file formal complaints with agencies. [1]
  • Communicate Externally: Keep messaging factual. Avoid speculation. Focus on cooperation and empathy. [2]
  • Strengthen Policies: Learn from experience. Make improvements to processes and training. [2]
  • Support Employees: Cover legal fees if appropriate. Advocate on their behalf. Connect to legal/community resources. [2]

Know Your Rights

Employers and employees have the following rights when immigration agents arrive:

  • ICE needs warrant or consent to enter non-public areas[1]
  • Warrant must be signed by judge and specify location to be searched[1]
  • Employees can remain silent and do not have to answer questions[1][2]
  • Employers should not hide individuals or prevent them from cooperating[2]
  • All parties can ask for lawyer – employer not required to provide one[1]
  • Anyone arrested can make phone call and contact consulate[1]
  • Individuals can document interactions via photos, videos, notes[1]

Handling Warrants

If ICE presents a warrant, be sure to:

  • Ask for copy of warrant and review carefully[1]
  • Check if signed by judge and specifies correct address[1]
  • Verify scope covers only certain areas of premises[1]
  • Escort agents to ensure they don’t exceed warrant[2]
  • Object to any search outside areas specified in warrant[1]
  • Make written record of items/areas searched and seized[1]

Interacting with Agents

When engaging with ICE officers:

  • Remain calm and treat agents professionally[2]
  • State you intend to cooperate fully with investigation[2]
  • Ask for business cards and written notice about purpose of visit[2]
  • Write down badge numbers and details about officers[1]
  • Note names/details of any employees interviewed[2]
  • Do not attempt to physically impede officers[1]
  • Do not lie or provide false documents[1]

After the Encounter

Once agents depart, be sure to:

  • Debrief with management team[2]
  • Review documentation from raid<a

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I was searching for a law firm with some power to help me deal with a warrant in New York . After 6 days I decided to go with Spodek Law Group. It helped that This law firm is well respected by not only the top law firms in New York , but the DA , Judge as well. I...

~Fonder Brandon

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It was my good fortune to retain Spodek Law Group for representation for my legal needs. From the beginning, communication was prompt and thorough. Todd, Kenneth and Alex were the first people I worked with and they all made me feel comfortable and confident that the team was going to work hard for me. Everything was explained and any concerns...

~A G

5 Stars
After meeting with several law firms, I chose the Spodek Law Group not only for their professionalism and experience, but for the personal attention given to me right from the initial consultation. It is important to recognize how crucial having the right legal team is when faced with potentially life altering events that impact families and the lives of loved...

~George Cherubini

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