Unofficial comments from government officials confirm reports from The New York Times, Mother Jones, and other media outlets that the Trump administration will begin raids on Sunday, June 23, of approximately 2,000 migrant families with final orders of removal. Arrests of individuals not yet ready for removal—known as collateral arrests—may also occur. The Washington Post has reported that US Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) agents will target as many as 10 cities, including Houston, Chicago, Miami, and Los Angeles, as well as other immigration hubs in the United States. President Trump appears to have mentioned the upcoming operations in a tweet earlier this week ahead of his reelection kickoff.
As our Legal Update in February highlighted, employers must be vigilant and prepared to address unannounced visits to worksites in connection with immigration enforcement operations. We highlight key points ahead of the anticipated operations:
- If you operate in an industry that relies on large numbers of low-skilled or manual workers, you should prepare for a potential raid. Recent raids of convenience store chains, restaurants, food processing facilities, and gardening and landscaping companies reveal a pattern of workplace enforcement that targets businesses with a low-skilled workforce.
- Ensure that your business has and maintains a standardized practice for the onboarding and retention of new worker records. A failure to standardize routine events such as the recruitment and onboarding of new workers can place a business at significant risk. Employers should proactively review human resources practices across worksite locations and business divisions to ensure that company-wide policies and practices align with workforce employment authorization verification requirements.
- In the event of an enforcement action, retain external counsel that has experience not only in immigration compliance but also in immigration-related investigations and crisis management. Worksite enforcement actions by ICE and the US Attorneys’ Offices could disrupt workforce continuity, hampering the ability of employers to operate. Moreover, continuing to conduct business in the midst of a criminal investigation brings particular challenges. Consequently, businesses are well-advised to engage counsel possessing a deep knowledge of immigration compliance and investigatory matters.
In the event ICE contacts you or ICE agents appear at your worksite, we recommend that you reach out to Mayer Brown for the best approach to navigating these interactions with ICE.