Seyfarth Synopsis: As the Department of Homeland Security, as well as the administration generally, signals increases in immigration enforcement activity, businesses are advised to implement clear protocols for the conduct of key personnel in the event of a visit by a federal officer, particularly Special Agents of the Department of Homeland Security, Immigration and Customs Enforcement (“ICE”). This guidance identifies the likely purposes of an ICE visit and sets forth critical steps for key personnel should such a visit occur. Businesses are advised to work with legal counsel to tailor this general guidance to their specific industry and business processes.
In light of the Trump Administration’s promises of increased immigration enforcement, employers and employees are growing more concerned about the prospect of government worksite visits either to effectuate arrests or to conduct investigations and audits. To be clear, the Department of Homeland Security’s (“DHS”) Immigration and Customs Enforcement (“ICE”) agency has clarified that there has been no directive to initiate worksite enforcement (aka raids) against employers. Notwithstanding, it does appear that recent ICE arrests have swept not only individuals either alleged to have committed a crime or for whom an immigration warrant is outstanding, but also others accompanying the intended arrestee who are found to lack legal status in the U.S.
In addition to arrests, other investigative and audit activity looms on the horizon. Chatter continues about a possible increase in Form I-9 audits by ICE’s Homeland Security Investigations Unit (HSI), and similar activity by the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services Fraud Detection National Security Unit  as well as it’s E-Verify Monitoring and Compliance branch . Additionally, the Department of Justice’s newly named Employee and Immigrant Rights Office (legacy Office of Special Counsel), will continue to pursue investigations into citizenship, national origin discrimination and document abuse matters. This Alert focuses on a visit by the folks at HSI, a separate Alert will be focused on USCIS site visits and investigative visits by other agencies.