Written by attorney JoAnn Lois Barten

When ICE Comes Knocking: Immigration Raids at Work or Home

In a typical raid, Immigration Customs Enforcement (ICE) may not enter a worksite or home unless they have a warrant. Arrest Warrant or Search Warrant to Gain Entry: There are two types of warrants: (1) an arrest warrant - for when they are coming to arrest someone at the worksite or home, and (2) a search warrant - for when they have permission to search the worksite or home. ICE can issue arrest warrants, but only a court can issue a search warrant. In the Postville, Iowa raid at Agri-processors, the raid was carried out as a civil ICE arrest warrant to find people who were in the US illegally and a criminal law enforcement agency search warrant to find evidence of fraudulent documents. Consent to Gain Entry: Besides warrants, another way an immigration officer can enter the worksite or home is if the officer is given permission to enter. A consented to search does not require a warrant. By consenting, the individual cannot later complain about everything done by officers. An ICE officer is not allowed to force someone to consent to enter their worksite or home without a valid warrant. Often the worksite receptionist or roommate unwittingly gives consent to enter without the knowledge of the other people. ICE prefers consent because they can search even places they could not obtain a warrant to search from a judge. When an Officer Knocks on the Door: If an officer knocks on the door, the individual may decide not to open the door and ask the officer through the closed door to identify himself. Once the officer names the agency, such as "Department of Homeland Security," through the closed door the individual may ask if the officer has a warrant. If the officer says "yes," the individual may ask the officer to slip it under the door. If the officer says "no" the individual may decide not to open the door. The individual can examine the warrant for the name, address and a signature to make sure it is a true and valid warrant. If the warrant does not look valid, such as the wrong address or missing a signature, the individual can return it under the door and say it is incorrect. Arrest Warrant: If the warrant looks valid, examine the warrant to see if it was issued by a court or by ICE. If the warrant was issued by Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE), but not a court, you are not allowed to walk away from the Officer. You may want to go outside to meet the officers. You can decide not to allow entry. If you allow the Officer in the worksite or home, the officer can ask questions of anyone else who is in there too. Search Warrant: If the warrant was issued by the court and authorizes search of the worksite or home, the Officer should be allowed entry. Officers are only allowed to take steps to get the items listed in the search warrant. During the execution of the search warrant, individuals may decide to leave the premises walking. Running away or hiding, however, creates reasonable suspicion to detain and arrest. Individuals may also ask if they and the others with them are allowed to leave. If Officers tell the individual he or she cannot leave then, they must remain. ICE cannot shut down a business to execute a search warrant. Instead, the employer and its employees are legally allowed to continue working. ICE cannot force the employer to corral employees. When ICE asks the employer to "get all your employees in the yard" the employer can say no. ICE cannot require the employer identify who is who. Often the Officers will ask an employer to seal the exits. The employer can say "no." AVOID SHIELDING: Shielding others can lead to a criminal charge of obstruction of justice. An individual cannot hide people, cannot warn people, cannot sneak them out the back door and cannot tell other individuals not to talk. Instead, an employer can only say to employees, "you have the right not to talk. Or to talk and if you talk you must tell the truth." After the Raid: Nearly everyone found at the Postville raid are being charged criminally in federal district court. Immigration lawyers speculate the US Attorney's Office will attempt to persuade those arrested to plead guilty to a crime that will be an aggravated felony with automatic removal from the US. As of this writing, no civil immigration charges have been filed but these are expected soon. In the confusion of the raid and the aftermath, it is sometimes difficult to determine whether the individual was arrested by police or by immigration enforcement. The rights by those individuals which may be demanded are different depending upon whether criminal authorities or ICE is involved. Individuals lose two important rights when dealing with immigration officers, individuals do not have the right to a lawyer and also cannot request all questioning be stopped. The most important right is the right to remain silent which is granted to all persons. Arrested by Criminal Authorities - Rights of Defendants in Criminal Proceedings: >The right to remain silent - anything you say will be used against you later on >The right to an attorney even if you cannot afford one >The right to request all questioning stop >Lawyers typically advise clients not to volunteer information about themselves to the criminal authorities Arrested by Immigration Authorities - Rights of Respondents in Immigration Proceedings: >The right to remain silent - anything you say will be used against you later on >The right NOT to sign any statements or document, especially giving up your right to a hearing >You have the right to have access to your lawyer, but not to a free lawyer. Sometimes it will take a lawyer time to find you. However, your lawyer must be granted access to meet with you. >Do NOT lie to an immigration officer. Lying about your status carries serious punishment. You may say I want to speak with a lawyer as a response. >The right to contact your consulate.

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