What to Do If You Receive a Notice of Inspection from ICE
We sometimes receive phone calls from business owners or managers who have just received a Notice of Inspection (NOI) from Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE). This notice is typically served to let the business owner know they have three days until ICE agents audit their records, usually I-9 forms. The NOI should explain which documents are needed.
In recent years, ICE has stepped up inspections, and in 2017, they visited 1,300 organizations leading to 71 indictments. Additionally, certain Covid-19 accommodations allowing remote inspections of I-9 forms are set to expire at the end of July 2023. At that point, employers will have only 30 days to perform physical inspections of any documents that were previously accepted remotely. Employers who overlook this change may fare poorly in a future audit.
What Steps Should You Take When You Receive an NOI?
First, calling a lawyer is an excellent idea. Your immigration attorney can help you audit your own records and identify any problems early. If you find these issues yourself and make the effort to address them, ICE agents have the ability to show leniency and reduce potential fines.
Here are some other important steps to take when you receive an NOI:
- Don’t waive your right to the three-day waiting period! Sometimes people want to “get it over with,” but it’s better to take this time to review your records with your attorney. Collect all I-9 documents, ensure none are missing, and go over them with your lawyer to determine if you’ve been compliant.
- Don’t offer additional documents or information. Produce only the documents requested by the NOI and accompanying subpoenas. If the ICE agents want more documentation, they will ask for it.
- Make copies of all requested documents because ICE will want to review the originals only.
- Provide the ICE auditor’s contact information to your attorney. This info is given so you can begin communications with your auditor. The best solution is to let your attorney speak with the auditor to determine how they want to proceed. Your lawyer will ask about the audit process, how long it might take, and any expectations the ICE agent may have.
- Use your time productively. Double-check all documents you must turn over to ICE to ensure there are no issues. If there are, your lawyer may be able to correct the documents for you.
Do You Need Help with an ICE Audit or Other Immigration Matter?
Deepak Ahluwalia is the lead attorney at Singh Ahluwalia Attorneys at Law and is a trusted source of immigration knowledge for major news sources, including the BBC, CNN, The Guardian, and more. If you’ve received an NOI, or if you simply want to ensure your business is prepared in case you receive one in the future, Singh Ahluwalia Attorneys at Law can assist you. Please call us for a consultation to learn how we can help keep your business compliant with current immigration laws.
To learn more about handling an NOI, please read Mr. Ahluwalia’s full guest post in Supply Chain Management Review.