ICE Raids: What you need to know.

Updated 1.22.2018

The recent announcement that the U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) plans to do raids in the Bay Area have many restaurateurs concerned. As a result, we are providing a refresher on resources available to you as an employer as well as your employees.

Know your rights as an employer.  

1) Have a plan for who on staff handles government officials. Establish who that point of contact is — whether a specific manager or owner and instruct employees of the appropriate contact.  Your plan should also include contacting legal counsel.

2) Know your rights.  Anyone showing up at your workplace is only allowed to enter public areas without your permission — primarily the dining area. California law AB 450, which just went into effect requires that employers may not voluntarily consent to an immigration enforcement agent to enter any nonpublic areas of “a place of labor” without a subpoena or judicial warrant. Therefore, any areas that are off-limits to the general public, can be off limits to federal officials as well. This includes your kitchen, office, break room, etc.

3) Ask to see a warrant.  A valid warrant should be signed and have accurate legal information, including the name and address of your business, listed names of specific employees, etc.  You don’t have to provide them more information than what’s requested on the warrant.  In fact, the new state law indicates that except as otherwise required by federal law, employers cannot re-verify the employment eligibility of a current employee at a time or in a manner not required by federal law.  Basically, don’t offer up or penalize employees who you think may not have the proper documentation just because ICE has arrived.

4) I-9 forms.  ICE will likely request to see your Employment Eligibility Verification forms, known as the I-9, federal law specifies at least three days must be provided for compliance.  You should have these forms separate from other employee records, which federal officials don’t have a right to review.  You have the right to request that officials come back another time to review these forms, and in fact under California law AB 450, employers must give notice of 72 hours to employees of any immigration review of employment records, and there are specific measures for notifying “affected employees”.  The notice must be posted in the language the employer normally uses to communicate employment-related information to the employee.  In addition, the notice must include the following information:

  • The name of the immigration agency conducting the inspections of I-9 Employment Eligibility Verification forms or other employment records.

  • The date that the employer received notice of the inspection.

  • The nature of the inspection to the extent known.

  • A copy of the Notice of Inspection of I-9 Employment Eligibility Verification forms for the inspection to be conducted.

Additionally for an “affected employee,” “an employee who may lack work authorization, or an employee whose work authorization documents have been identified by the immigration agency inspection to have deficiencies,” a copy of the Notice of Inspection of I-9 Employment Eligibility Verification forms must be hand delivered at the workplace (if possible) within 72 hours. Complete guidance surrounding federal employment verification forms can be found here. Please see a more in-depth list of guidance and a sample warrant here.

5)  Call the San Francisco or Alameda County 24-hour hotline to report the raid.  San Francisco does raid verification for all calls of alleged ICE Enforcement activity within San Francisco. Raid verification is an important component to dispel myths and lessen fear.  They will physically go and verify or announce false alarms to rumors about ICE activity. The number is 415-200-1548 for San Francisco, which has language capacity in Spanish, Arabic, and Chinese (both Cantonese and Mandarin).  There’s usually one dispatcher at a time, so please use the line only to report ICE activity in San Francisco.  Alameda County also has a hotline at 510-241-4011.

Your employees have rights too.  Employees don’t have to speak to immigration officials. They can request an attorney and a translator.  Here’s the link to a card or sheet you can distribute to your employees that allows them to assert their legal rights.  San Francisco has established a Rapid Response Network, which includes the hotline referenced above, which is 415-200-1548 and 510-241-4011 for Alameda County.  San Francisco has language capacity in Spanish, Arabic, and Chinese (both Cantonese and Mandarin).  As noted above, the hotline should only be used to report ICE activity in San Francisco.

SF’s Rapid Response Network also includes attorney activation once an activity is verified.   If an individual is detained after an ICE raid or ICE Activity the City will activate attorneys to go down to 630 Sansome (immigration processing center) to file for representation of the individual.  They will also work to secure long-term representation if the person needs it.  More information about the SF Rapid Response Network can be found here.

In general, the Bay Area has a ton of resources for your employees. Below are some links to some key resources, and a full legal directory for nonprofit immigration assistance can be found here.  For employees from Mexico, the Mexican Consulate has resources and information found here.

Planning Resources for Employees:

  1. Appleseed Network’s Protecting Assets & Child Custody in the Face of Deportation (2017):
      1. Power of Attorney, pp. 102-117
      2. Dissolving or Selling a Business, pp. 168-174
  1. Mission Asset Fund’s Financial Emergency Action Plan for Immigrants (2017):
      1. “My Business” section, p. 13
  1. Immigrant Legal Resource Center’s Family Preparedness Plan (2017):
      1. “A Note on Power of Attorney,” p. 4
  1. National Council of La Raza’s Know Your Rights – Financial Safety:
      1. “File a Power of Attorney,” p. 1
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