ICE conducted worksite raids at seven agricultural processing plants across Mississippi Wednesday morning as part of an ongoing worksite enforcement investigation. Three poultry plants operated by Peco Foods in three different towns, and a fourth poultry plant run by Koch Farms, were among the facilities raided.

ICE executed federal search warrants and seized business records from management and detained approximately 680 workers. Most of those workers arrested will remain detained at the discretion of ICE, until a date is set with an immigration judge for weeks or months after the arrest. With such an immediate loss of their workforce, employers may think about what plans and policies to prepare for what may be an increase in large-scale immigration raids that have not been previously seen this decade.

Following storm delays and other stalls, ICE has started to deliver on President Trump’s directive to ramp up immigration enforcement. Beginning the weekend of July 12, ICE conducted visible street raids and invisible- or “silent”- raids in the workplace. In the streets, ICE conducted a week-long surge throughout San Diego County. ICE apprehended more than a dozen “targeted” individuals with prior immigration and criminal violations as well as “collateral” individuals, people who happen to be present with targets.  In the workplace, ICE has issued over 3,000 Notices of Inspection (NOI) initiating Form I-9 audits for companies. This is the most recent surge of “silent” raids over the past two years with an increase of 4,600 audits from FY17 to FY18. Both Acting Director Matthew Albence and local Immigration Enforcement have reiterated focus on employers rather than employees for immigration violations in the workplace.

Monday night, President Trump tweeted “Next week ICE will begin the process of removing the millions of illegal aliens who have illicitly found their way into the United States. They will be removed as fast as they come in. Mexico, using their strong immigration laws, is doing a very good job of stopping people.......” The President’s tweet appears to reference stalled ICE plans to sweep up families in major U.S. cities. To read The Washington Post’s article, follow this link.

You can review our “What to do when ICE shows Up” cheat sheet here; or listen to our podcast here.

We would like to thank Christopher Valadez at Grower-Shipper Association of Central California for alerting the industry.

Appeals Court Strikes Trump Administration’s Efforts to End DACA

On Thursday, a three-judge panel of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 9th Circuit unanimously upheld a ruling that President Trump is not permitted to immediately end the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrival (“DACA”) program brought under the Obama administration in 2012—keeping the present nationwide injunction in place.  As we previously reported here, in September of 2017, the Trump administration sought to end DACA after the state of Texas and several other states threatened to sue to force and end of the program that allows undocumented immigrants who came to the U.S. before the age of 16 and met certain criteria to enjoy a period of deferred deported action. In response, a number of courts throughout the country ruled the administration’s reasoning to end the program was incorrect and DACA has remained in place.

Frequently Asked Questions on All Things Social Security

This collaborative briefing was written by Michael C. Saqui of Dowling Aaron Incorporated, Chris Schulte of CJ Lake, LLC, and Rob Roy, President and General Counsel of Ventura County Agricultural Association

Beginning this month, the Social Security Administration (SSA) is sending "Employer Correction Request" letters, also known as "no-match letters," to every employer that has at least one Social Security "no-match”. 

The letters are likely meant to intimidate employers, but explicitly state that they do not have anything to do with any employee’s work authorization or immigration status. Follow this link to read the complete article.

Yesterday, the Napa County Farm Bureau sent out an email alerting members that it had been informed that Immigration and Customs Enforcement (“ICE”) inspections were happening in the area, according to an article this morning in the Napa Valley Register.  Though no specific reports have been made, employers should be on alert and prepared should ICE agents come knocking.

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