As a business owner, there aren’t many things as scary as Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) agents showing up at your door. If this happens, they’re looking for something in particular. And while you want to comply, you don’t want to do anything that puts you or any of your employees at risk.

What’s the reason for the visit?

If ICE agents show up at your place of business, it’s important that you understand the reason for the visit. Generally speaking, this falls into one of three categories:

  • Form I-9 audit
  • A raid
  • To detain a specific employee (or employees)

A Form I-9 audit is exactly what it sounds like. This is when agents come to your physical location to ensure that you’re meeting all I-9 work requirements. Remember, this form should be on hand for all workers as it confirms a worker’s identity and verifies that they’re legally permitted to work in the United States.

An ICE raid is much more serious, as the agents provide no advanced notice of their arrival. The whole point is to catch you off guard so that they can conduct an investigation without giving you time to prepare.

Depending on the circumstances, ICE agents may be accompanied by other people, such as local police officers.

Finally, ICE agents could come to your workplace to detain a specific employee. While they’re looking specifically for this person, it doesn’t mean they won’t look into other issues, such as additional people who may be illegally working at the company.

These are the most common reasons for ICE agents showing up at your place of employment. You hope that it never happens, but if it does you want to know your legal rights and how to protect them.

The most important thing is that you understand why they’re visiting you and how you can cooperate. There’s no point in fighting back, as it will only make it appear that you’re trying to cover something up.

Should you find yourself in trouble with Immigration and Customs Enforcement, learn more about the issue, your legal rights and how to protect them as the investigation unfolds.