The Trump administration has made aggressively searching for and deporting undocumented immigrants a priority. This policy can and will have profound impacts on the livestock, dairy, and egg industries. Many farms rely on immigrant workers. Often the first question farmers ask is what to do if an immigration officer shows up on the farm. I suggest the following steps:
- Identification. Immigration agents are typically Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) or Department of Homeland Security (DHS) officers. Ask the officer for identification through a closed door. Ask what the officer wants.
- Warrants. ICE or DHS officers may not enter private property, search your farm, or arrest anyone inside your farm buildings without a warrant. Ask to see a warrant. If the officer produces a warrant, check the name, address, signature, and issuing entity. If it looks valid and was issued by a federal court, you should allow the officers to enter. If not, you have the right to refuse entry. A warrant signed by an ICE employee is not enough. Either way, keep a copy of the warrant.
- I-9 Forms. No warrant is required for an officer to inspect employment eligibility verification (I-9) forms, but notice is required. Tell the officer you insist on the 3-day notice. Contact your attorney immediately and prepare I-9 forms for inspection. Your I-9 forms should be stored in one location separate from other employment or financial records.
- Paperwork. Tell the officer you need to speak with your attorney before you sign anything.
- Buildings. Do not give the officers permission to inspect your buildings. Once you consent to entry, the officer can question your employees inside the buildings. If officers force their way in, do not physically resist. Tell the officer you do not consent to his entry or to his search of your premises. Tell him you wish to speak with your attorney. Employees may exercise their right to remain silent. If you want to answer any of the officer's questions, do it outside.
- Attorney. Contact your attorney when the officer leaves.
This post should not be construed as legal advice. Contact your attorney for immigration and deportation questions.