Attorney General Racine Releases Guidance on Immigration Enforcement in the Workplace

Guidance Designed to Provide Information to Employers and Employees

WASHINGTON, D. C. – Attorney General Karl A. Racine announced today the release of guidance on immigration enforcement in the workplace to District of Columbia employers and employees. This guidance responds to a climate of heightened concerns over such enforcement. The guidance is available in both English and Spanish.

“In the District, we value diversity and inclusion – including in the context of the workplace, where immigrants from many countries make immeasurable contributions to our economy and culture,” Attorney General Racine said. “Our office has received questions about what responsibilities and rights employers and employees have with respect to immigration enforcement actions, and we hope this guidance will provide information and clarity.”

The guidance document provides general information about immigration enforcement actions that may occur in the workplace, such as Form I-9 audits and worksite investigations. It aims to answer frequently asked questions about the rights of employers and employees during such actions and describe how employers might prepare for such actions.

Highlights of the Guidance

Key takeaways from the guidance document include:

  • Employers have an obligation under federal law to verify the identity and employment authorization of individuals hired for employment in the United States. Employers provide this verification through Form I-9, and law enforcement officials may conduct a Form I-9 audit on an employer.
  • Law enforcement officials may conduct worksite investigations regarding immigration matters by arriving at a worksite unannounced. Employers and employees have the right to remain silent if questioned by law enforcement officials during a worksite investigation. They also may request to speak with an attorney.
  • Law enforcement officials may enter public areas during a worksite investigation. However, a valid judicial warrant (a warrant signed by a judge) or the employer’s consent is required to enter private areas during a worksite investigation.

The information in the document is not intended to be specific legal advice or confidential information protected by the attorney-client privilege, but is intended as general guidance. For more information, see the full guidance document (attached). The document is available in English here, and in Spanish here.

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