Wednesday, April 26, 2006

Farmers Alerted About Possible Raids

Farm Bureau Warning Farmers About Worker Raids

LABELLE, FL. -- The Bureau of Immigration and Customs Enforcement is
currently conducting audits and raids in Dade and Broward counties, and
some growers believe the investigations may spread to other counties as
well. This agency has the authority to investigate the possible
employment of undocumented workers, or to look for undocumented workers
within constitutional parameters (i.e. reasonable search considerations).
According to the Florida Farm Bureau ageent may come on to a grower's
property to conduct a search or check for I-9s on employees and may
conduct "Routine" Audits which require the inspecting agency to give three
days notice but Do not require a search warrant but the Employer is
required to provide a list of employees and social security numbers for up
to three years an the Agency is entitled to examine and copy I-9 forms
and copies of any attached documents used to complete the I-9 form.

If a "Raids" is made, it would required agents to produce a search warrant
but not require advance notice The Agency would be entitled to all
records and other property covered by the warrant.

The Farm Bureau is telling farmers that if immigration or Department of
Labor agents show up to a grower's office with a search warrant, the
grower should have a protocol already in place to alert senior management
and legal counsel. The warrant should be carefully reviewed for what
records are being requested, and remain mindful that criminal prosecution
for immigration law violations may result if seized records reflect
violation of IRCA's criminal statutes.

Farmers in South Florida are just coming into the spring season for sweet
corn, and water melon and there is a shortage of workers to bring the crops
in, says the Farm Bureau. Bureau officials are contacting the Commissioner
of Agriculture's office to inform him of what is going on and to ask for
his help. For more information on the immigration agency's activities, go

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