By: Bruce Buchanan, Sebelist Buchanan Law

Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) raids are continuing with the latest being a grocery store in San Diego, CA. A few weeks ago, ICE raided a factory in North Carolina.

In the latest raid or “Judicial Warrant Enforcement Action” as ICE refers to them, 26 employees at Zion Market, a popular Korean grocery store, were taken into custody by ICE for failure to have valid work authorization. At the same time, ICE agents executed a federal search warrant at the business.

Prior to the raid, ICE served a Notice of Inspection on Zion Market in order to audit the company’s I-9 forms. Apparently, the audit led ICE to believe there were criminal violations occurring at the market.

David Shaw, the Homeland Securities Investigation (HSI) of ICE special agent in charge for San Diego, said the target of the investigation was the employer and not the employees. “Honestly, if we didn’t encounter any employees, it wouldn’t make a difference for our case,” said Shaw. “Our case is based on the employer.” “Worksite enforcement operations and investigations are important for strengthening public safety and national security, while eliminating worker exploitation, child labor and other illegal practice within the workforce,” said Shaw.

Shaw said the execution of the federal search warrant was the culmination of a yearlong investigation, but the employer had not yet been arrested or charged. “One of the things we’re trying to do, obviously, is protect U.S. jobs,” Shaw said, “but it’s also a national security issue.”

This raid is approximately the 17th one since ICE renewed raids in April 2017. Many of raids were the culmination of an investigation, which began with a Notice of Inspection to audit the company’s I-9 forms.

If you want to know more information on methods to defend yourself from workplace raids and other issues involving employer immigration compliance, I recommend you read The I-9 and E-Verify Handbook, a book I co-authored with Greg Siskind, and available at