Increase in ICE Raids

Summer ICE Raids in Nebraska

This summer, ICE and other federal agencies have begun targeting Nebraska businesses. Several individuals and business owners have been charged with conspiracy to harbor and conceal aliens by unlawfully employing them. These raids commonly occur in businesses that require a lot of laborers such as meat packing plants, factories, construction companies and agricultural businesses. Sometimes the companies are charged with additional crimes such as money laundering

Most companies assume that as long as they ask for multiple forms of identification, fill out the I-9, use E-Verify and jump through all of the regulatory hoops, they’re safe. However, this is not always the case. Filling out government paperwork and bringing the government into the process does not necessarily protect anyone from federal prosecution.

A business’ need for manual labor is often seasonal or is based on the demands of the free market. In these instances, a common industry practice is to hire temporary workers through temp agencies or contractors. Some employers falsely believe that when they hire a temp agency, the temp agency bears all the responsibility for ensuring the provided workers are legal residents of the United States. However, using a contractor or temp agency does not provide automatic amnesty from federal prosecution or ICE Raids.

What happens during the ICE Raid?

Most people assume that if ICE raids a company, they are there to round-up and remove illegal aliens. However, ICE raids can be much more complicated. It is not uncommon for federal agents to seize computers, cell phones, HR files, and other forms of data that may provide information about whether the raided company knew that they were hiring illegal aliens or that the company took action to hide, transport, or harbor those aliens. Managers, HR directors and other company officials will likely be questioned by law enforcement and possibly arrested and charged with crimes such as conspiracy to harbor illegal aliens.

What protections do I have?

Any person accused of a crime has the right to remain silent and a right to speak with an attorney prior to submitting to an interrogation by police. However, these rights must be clearly involved. Statements such as, “I should get an attorney” or “I don’t think talking would be a good idea” do not clearly involve constitutional rights.

Is Harboring a serious crime?

Yes. Harboring is a federal felony offense that carries potential prison time and large fines. Most employers and managers who are charged with Harboring also face charges of Conspiracy to Harbor Illegal Aliens, which can carry up to 10 years in prison and a $250,000 fine.

What can I do about ICE Raids?

For most people, they don’t learn about the raid until law enforcement shows up on company property with guns and badges. In these situations, the sooner your attorney knows the better. An experienced federal criminal defense attorney can walk you through the process, communicate with ICE Agents for you, and advise you on the best course of action based on a number of potential risks.

If you or your business is facing charges related to Harboring Illegal Aliens, Conspiracy to harbor Illegal Aliens, or other illegal immigration infractions, reach out to the attorneys at Berry Law, or call us at 402-817-6469

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