If one of your employees has been detained or is facing deportation, you may be feeling overwhelmed, especially if they are someone who has worked for your business for a long time. An experienced employee is not only a valuable asset for your business but is oftentimes a trusted and highly-regarded friend. During this tough time, there are many actions you can take to show your gratitude towards your employee by doing everything to help them get out of this difficult situation.
In this article, we will provide a guide to what to expect if one of your employees is being deported or is being held in detention, and what you can do to help.
Locating a Detained Employee
If your employee has been arrested or detained by Immigration and Customs Enforcement, helping locate them is the first step you can take to support them, especially if they are by themselves without their family. Your employee may first be processed by officers from ICE or another short-term facility for a maximum 72 hours before being transferred to another place, often out of state, for a longer stay. These transfers usually happen without notice to family members or lawyers. If your employee is not reachable by phone or if ICE is withholding information about their whereabouts, you may be able to locate them by explaining your relationship with them and demanding to know a specific reason for ICE’s refusal of information.
Find an Immigration Lawyer
Laws are never simple, but the rapidly changing immigration laws as well as the significant changes in immigration enforcement lately have made things all the more difficult. It is always advantageous to seek a trusted immigration attorney who can advise you about your employee’s status and what actions you can take as an employer to ensure their safety. In the field of complicated immigration law, an experienced immigration law expert can help find out if your employee qualifies for existing legal pathways, or if there is anything you can do to increase their chance of staying.
Leverage Their Consulate
If you are having issues finding your employee or ensuring their safety, it is usually a good idea to reach out to their consulate. It is required by law that consulates should be notified when their nationals are detained, so they may be able to help you locate your employee. Moreover, consular officers are obligated to protect their nationals, and so they will be a useful ally. Experienced immigration lawyers usually have good contacts in the major consulates so will be able to help you with this and all the other steps.
Prepare a Written Statement
If your employee has worked with you for a long time, you will have a record of what they have done for you and your business. You can gather all of this information to prepare a written statement to support your employee’s case. You should also include evidence, such as their contract in order to show that they are a legitimate employee. You can add some personal statements from yourself and other supervisors and employees from your business to show how valued and loved they are.
Help them with Paperwork
Being in such a tough position, your employee may find it hard to deal with all of the immigration and legal paperwork. There is nothing you can do now that is more meaningful than helping them with this, especially if they struggle with the language. Even some simple tasks like helping them understand any letters or prepare forms that they need will mean a lot to your employee at this time.
Support them Emotionally
Going through a deportation or detention process can be emotionally overwhelming and so a little emotional care can really help ease the pressure. You can help your employee with a short term loan if possible, or cover their lost wages on days that they are away from work to attend hearings. Coming from a different background, it is critical that you give the suitable emotional and spiritual support that your employee needs to get through this difficult time in their life.
A growing number of immigrants are being deported, and it can unfortunately be one of your friends, employees, and even a member of your family. The most important thing to do now is to stay calm and seek the right legal advice from an experienced attorney and the appropriate consulate. With the right steps taken, you can help your employee secure their residential status, maintain their job to support their family, and save your business from losing a good worker.