How To Handle An ICE Raid On Your Farm

January 3, 2019 08:00 AM
Kelly Fortier, a farm immigration attorney with the firm Michael Best, will be speaking at the 2019 Executive Women in Agriculture conference to help employers understand what they need to know about immigrant labor.

While Immigrations and Customs Enforcement (ICE) continues to crack down on border security and conduct random immigration raids, there’s a few things employers need to know. Kelly Fortier, a farm immigration attorney with the firm Michael Best, will be speaking at the 2019 Executive Women in Agriculture conference to help employers understand what they need to know about immigrant labor. 

If there’s an ICE raid on your farm, follow these steps provided by Fortier.

1. Know Your Private Property Rights. You do not have to give private property access to any government official without consent. “Unless they have some kind of subpoena or warrant, they’re not allowed to just walk around without the permission of the business owner,” she says. Additionally, Fortier suggests every farm have a plan in place to know what to do if an immigration enforcement agent shows up. Ensure whoever the agent’s first point of contact knows to call the farm owner, knows who has the ability to give agents consent to be on the property without a warrant, and make sure everyone knows what to do if the agent does have a warrant.  “It seems like common sense, but in the heat of the moment it’s really nice to have some kind of written procedure for what people should do,” she says.

2. Have Your Form I-9s in Oder. Fortier says it’s a good idea to ensure all of your I-9s are ready to go and organized. “If the government wants to look at employers they’ll usually look at the I-9s and start there,” she says. Fortier says it’s a good idea to audit the I-9s yourself to ensure they are filled out completely and void of any errors. The most common immigration-related fines for an employer are related to I-9 forms having some kind of error. 

3. Craft a Staffing Plan. While most of the workers in question are being picked up at their home, the situation can still cause issues for farmers. Fortier recommends farmers have a staffing plan in place in the event one or more of their employees does not show up for work. “Once an individual is picked up, it’s very hard to predict when they might be coming back, if ever,” she says. “If there is an immigration problem, the farm may never see them again.”

4. Give Agents Your Full Cooperation. While you don’t have to allow agents to roam your private property without consent, it’s imperative that you aren’t seen as harboring a criminal. “If the government thinks you’re proactively hiding or sheltering individuals you know are in the country unlawfully, you could be facing criminal liability—even seizing of assets,” she says. Be sure employees know not to hide from agents, and be prepared to find an employee and bring them to an agent who arrives with a warrant for that person.

The Executive Women in Agriculture conference is an event dedicated exclusively to professional women producers. It will be held January 15-17, 2019, at the Hilton Chicago Downtown, as part of the 2019 Top Producer Summit. Register here. 

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Spell Check

tom protheroe
apopka, FL
1/4/2019 07:05 AM

  The clear and present danger test was the predominate standard for determining when speech is protected by the First Amendment and, at the very least, protects your right to spew your amusing arguments

Manes, MO
1/4/2019 07:56 AM

  No one is above the law, not even farmers. But why is it low level politicians are permitted to thwart federal law by declaring sanctuary for foreign criminals? Why are they above the law? And, why are foreign criminals above the law? Why are laws only enforced against US citizens. All of this undermines the value of US citizenship while we pay the bills. The demrat socialist party sees these invaders as future socialist voters. Bringing in low IQ invaders and criminals will ultimately be our demise. The browning of America and multiculturalism has destroyed many sovereign nations and will do so again. No country can long exist if something isn't done. Is this what we want for our children?

Quentin Bruggeman
Seymour, TX
1/4/2019 07:20 AM

  I agree with Jack Stinnet he is right on target. I would go further, i think any employer of illegals in any occupation should have mandatory jail time if caught. All Americans should be upset that illegals not only take their jobs but pay no taxes. Illegals cost the country billions every year and contribute nothing but cheap labor at taxpayers expense. Build the wall and let them come here legally, demand your Democrat congressman to help President Trump secure the border and stop playing politics with everything he wants to do to help this country.


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