How to Escape an ICE Audit Unscathed

Illionois defense attorney, Illinois federal crimes lawyer, Illinois criminal defense lawyerNo one ever wants to get audited. When business owners are facing an ICE audit though, it is even more intimidating. These audits are conducted by Immigration and Customs Enforcement, and the number of them have skyrocketed over the past year or so.

These audits are meant to look for undocumented immigrants that are working for a business. The law provides that businesses may hire a certain number of undocumented workers, but if more than that number is found, it can mean big trouble for the business owner.

It is important all business owners realize the possibility of an ICE audit happening in their place of business. It is also just as important that they understand how to escape one unscathed.

Do Not Lie to a Federal Agent

Most business owners likely understand that they are expected to tell the truth during an ICE audit. Unfortunately, the majority do not realize that outright lying to a federal agent is a crime in and of itself. In fact, anything said while speaking to a federal agent is equivalent to testifying in federal court. This is why everything that is said must be 100 percent truthful.

If it is found that a person was untruthful during an ICE audit, that person could face a false statement charge according to 18 U.S.C. 1001. The penalty for lying to federal agents under this statute is up to five years in federal prison. It is also important business owners understand that withholding information, or purposefully not disclosing important information will also be considered as lying to federal agents.

Do Not Destroy Evidence

Even worse than lying to a federal agent is destroying, altering, concealing, or falsifying evidence, under federal statute 18 U.S.C. 1519. During an ICE audit, this evidence will likely include texts, emails, other forms of communications, or important documents, such as an application for employment that blatantly stated the worker was undocumented.

It is often tempting for business owners to destroy these documents that could help prove they are guilty of hiring undocumented workers. However, this is considered obstruction of justice and if convicted, a person could spend up to twenty years in federal prison. It is always better to speak to an attorney that can help reduce the charges or refute the prosecution’s case.

Instate a Corporate Compliance Program

A single handbook can go a long way in showing ICE agents a business owner had the best intentions in their hiring practices. Every business should have an employment manual, a code of conduct, a policy and procedures manual, or other documents that clearly outline rules relating to immigration status and employment. A person’s intent will be taken into consideration when ICE is performing their audits, and a small manual can say a lot.

A Chicago Federal Criminal Defense Lawyer can Help with Your Audit

Of all the ways to protect yourself during an ICE audit, the very best way is to speak to a dedicated Chicago federal criminal defense lawyer that can help. An attorney will be familiar with the process of an ICE audit and can advise you on what to say, and what not to say, to federal agents. An attorney will also ensure that during the audit your rights are upheld and if charges are laid, they will also help you prepare a solid defense. If something went wrong during your ICE audit and you are now facing charges, contact the Law Offices of Hal M. Garfinkel at 312-629-0669. The situation may seem hopeless, but we know it is not and we are here to help. We offer free consultations so call us today and we will start reviewing your case.

Sources:

https://www.law.cornell.edu/uscode/text/18/1519

https://www.law.cornell.edu/uscode/text/18/1001

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