Just days before the Trump administration announced its expansion of a work visa program to allow 15,000 low-skilled laborers to become wage workers in the United States, California legislators were busy debating the Immigrant Worker Protection Act, a bill that would require immigration agents to obtain court warrants before they can enter a private business workplace.
If the California bill is passed, other states may follow, and economic conditions in the U.S. may prompt more foreign worker visas to be approved in the future. Nonetheless, the deportation crusade of the Trump administration is bound to continue along with unpleasant workplace raids by agents from Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE). Here are five steps business owners can take to prepare for these visits.
1. Retain Appropriate Counsel
In San Diego, temporary employment immigration law firms can help with Employment Eligibility Verification forms and H-1B visa compliance. The best time to conduct audits is while Trump is still in the White House.
2. Formulate a Plan
Immigration agents have cut down on workplace raids because they are very unpopular, particularly when they are documented by surveillance videos, social media, or news reporters, which means business-like visits are more likely to happen than raids. However, business owners should ask their San Diego immigration or employment legal counsel to help them formulate a plan for an eventual visit or raid. This plan should be disseminated throughout the company.
3. Practice Compliance
Once legal specialists have conducted their audit, they may have recommendations related to compliance issues that should be resolved prior to the arrival of immigration agents. It is important for business owners to support their workers, but they should also protect their companies by means of compliance. The less immigration agents have to complain about, the shorter their visits will be.
4. Establish Lines of Communication
Retained counsel should be notified as soon as the immigration agents show up. Companies that do not have in-house counsel should train a couple of managers, ideally from human resources, on the legal rights of employees. Once attorneys have been notified, the agents should be asked for their identification, reasons for their visit, and legal paperwork authorizing their presence. In the political climate of the current administration, immigration agents may become aggressive. It is not recommended to challenge them when this happens, but managers may remind them that the workplace is monitored by video or audio surveillance.
5. Limit the Scope of the Visit
If the agents have subpoenas or warrants, they should only execute the contents of those court orders. For example, if the warrant states the agents are only allowed to go into human resources and collect the I-9 paperwork, they should not be allowed to search restrooms, break areas, conference rooms, or other areas not specified in the court order. It is important to note that Notices of Inspection preclude most visits, and thus there should have been some warning.
If you run a business and are concerned about an upcoming visit from ICE, it’s best to be prepared and have a good understanding of the steps you need to take. To learn more about immigration services in San Diego, CA, get in touch with KS Visa Law today at 858-874-0711.