U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) served notices of inspection this week to 77 businesses across Northern California including in Sacramento, according to ICE officials.
ICE agents notified businesses they would be auditing their hiring records to verify employees are legally able to work in the U.S. The businesses are required to provide agents with the proper documents within three business days. An inspection of compliance will then be held by agents, ICE officials said.
In January 2018, ICE targeted nearly 100 7-Eleven stores across the country in a similar worksite enforcement raid. As a result of the sweep, a total of 21 people suspected of being unauthorized workers were arrested and ordered to appear in immigration court.
Donald Trump's approach to immigration policies has dominated headlines for better or worse, since before being sworn in as the nation's 45th president.
In September 2017, the Trump administration announced the U.S. would rescind the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program sparking harsh criticism from supporters of the group. Since then, the fight to reach an agreement to save DACA has become ugly, even causing a three-day government shutdown a couple weeks ago.
Congress has until March 5, 2018, to reach a deal on DACA.
Given the recent actions taken by the Trump administration and ICE, the people at the center of the immigration debate have reason to fear deportation.
Regardless of citizenship status, if you live in the U.S., you still hold rights. ICE must follow legal procedures when carrying out operations.
It's important to remember, ICE only conducts "targeted enforcement", where they are seeking an individual or individuals. ICE agents don't carry out checkpoints or random raids.
California law, AB-450, which went into effect Jan. 1, 2018, prohibits employers from allowing ICE agents to access, obtain or view employee records without a subpoena or judicial warrant. However, ICE officials can audit I-9 Employment Eligibility Verification Forms (“I-9 Form”) and other documents after serving a Notice of Inspection to employers. Businesses then have 72 hours to notify individual employees and provide the proper documents to agents.
Once served a notice, the enforcement can be categorized as "targeted."
AB-450 is one of several new California immigration laws that took effect at the top of the year.
Here are some other things to know if you come in contact with ICE agents, according to the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU):
1. You have a right to remain silent and don't have an obligation to discuss your immigration or citizenship status with ICE agents or any other law enforcement officials. You don't have to answer questions about where you were born or how you came into the country. However, the same laws don't apply at international borders or airports and for individuals on nonimmigrant visas, such as tourists and business travelers.
2. If you're not a U.S. citizen and an ICE agent requests your immigration documents and you have them with you, you must show them the papers. If you don't have papers, remain silent. Don't provide fake documents or lie about your citizenship because it can be used against you.
3. If officers show up to your door, you have the right to keep the door closed and ask if they are immigration officers or ICE agents. You don't have to let them in if they don't have a warrant signed by a judge. Only a judge's warrant is enough for entry into your home. A warrant signed by an ICE employee is not enough. If the officers do have a warrant, you can ask them to slip it under the door for you to inspect. Officers are only allowed to enter the address listed on the warrant and search the items and areas listed. An arrest warrant allows police to enter the home of the person listed on the warrant if they think the person is inside. A warrant of deportation (ICE warrant) does not allow officers to enter a home without consent. If officers have a warrant, you still have the right to remain silent.
4. If the officers don't speak your language, ask for an interpreter.
5. If agents force their way through your door, don't resist. Just state, “I do not consent to your entry or to your search of these premises. I am exercising my right to remain silent. I wish to speak with a lawyer as soon as possible.” Everyone in the home also has the right to remain silent.
6. If taken into custody by ICE, know you have a right to a lawyer, but the government doesn't have to provide you with one. If you don't have a lawyer, ask for a list of free or low-cost lawyers. You have the right to remain silent and don't have to discuss anything with anyone but your lawyer. Do not sign anything without contacting your lawyer or you could risk losing the opportunity to stay in the U.S.
7. You have the right to contact your consulate or ask an officer inform the consulate of your arrest.
If you feel your rights have been violated, do not challenge officers on the street, instead, write down everything you remember and take photos. You can also get contact information from witnesses. If you're hurt, seek medical help first then take photos of the injuries.
You can file a complaint with the agency's internal affairs division or civilian complaint board and contact the ACLU for help.