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What to do if ICE Shows up at your Office

Updated: Aug 1, 2022

On August 3, 2018, my colleague, Danielle Atchison, posted on our blog regarding ICE’s 2-Phase Nationwide Enforcement Operation, under which over 5,200 I-9 notices have been delivered to companies since January. These Notices of Inspection (NOI’s) inform business owners that ICE will be auditing their hiring records to ensure they are complying with federal immigration regulations.

Considering the fact that ICE is just ramping up, (2,738 of these NOI’s were served in just a five-day timeframe) companies should be proactive in preparing for the possibility that ICE shows up at their door next.

In the case ICE does show up to serve your company an NOI, we recommend following the procedures listed below:

1. Receptionist or other Employee: Greet the Government Representatives

  • Greet the agents in a courteous and confident manner and inquire about their business.

  • Ask the agent(s) for a business card.

  • Inform the agent(s) that you will follow the company procedures, and call the Company’s Immigration Compliance Officer to take over communication with the government (just like an OSHA officer, it is crucial for companies to have a trained Immigration Compliance Officer as well).

2. Company’s Immigration Compliance Officer’s Duties:

  • Inform the agent that you would like to call your attorney before answering any questions, and call the company’s attorney.

  • Ask if the agent(s) if they have a warrant or subpoena.

  • If the agent(s) do not have a warrant or subpoena, they probably have a Notice of Inspection. In this case, you have three days to produce the record (in some cases, you may have more than three days).

  • Make sure you have their business card and copies of any paperwork they want the company to have.

  • Tell the agent(s) the company’s attorney will produce the record.

  • Provide copies to the company’s attorney.

By any metric, enforcement is up. To ensure compliance and sleep well at night, all companies should establish written corporate immigration compliance plans, policies, and procedures based on ICE best practices. If your company has not yet established these plans, policies, and procedures, the best place to begin is by training anyone involved in the hiring chain on proper administration of the Form I-9 to make sure they are able to identify the issues and avoid creating additional liability for the company.

Our compliance training and webinars can be found HERE.

Mason Ellis


The information provided here does not constitute legal advice. It is general information regarding law and policy that may be applicable to your particular HR issue or legal problem. Information provided in this blog, or any of our other public posts does not create an attorney-client relationship. For specific advice you can rely upon, please contact your attorney.

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