By: Bruce E Buchanan, Sebelist Buchanan Law

After a hiatus of over four months due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) has begun raids of employers again. On July 28, 2020, ICE, led by agents from Homeland Security Investigations (HSI), raided Bollinger Shipyards facilities in Lockport, Louisiana as part of an "ongoing federal criminal investigation" and detained arrested 19 "unlawfully present foreign nationals." ICE officials would not say whether the immigrants detained at the shipyard were employed by Bollinger Shipyards.

Bollinger Shipyards' general counsel, Rachael Battaglia, released this statement: "Bollinger Shipyards is aware of actions taken by the Department of Homeland Security to look into the immigration status of a small number of workers at our Lockport facility. Bollinger strictly adheres to all local, state and federal employment laws, and is enrolled in and uses the federal government’s E-Verify system to confirm the immigration status of all workers.”

Bollinger Shipyards is a major employer in the Louisiana bayou parishes and has built 163 vessels for the Coast Guard over the past 35 years.

Until this raid, ICE had discontinued its employer raids as well as extended due dates for responding to Notices of Inspection in mid-March 2020. In mid-July, ICE announced no more extensions on the due dates. It is believed this also means HSI will resume new I-9 audits through the delivery of Notices of Inspection (NOIs). Be on the lookout. It is believed there will be thousands served on employers before the fiscal year ends on September 30.

If you are concerned about your company’s immigration compliance, whether the presence of undocumented workers or numerous errors on your Forms I-9, I invite you to read The I-9 and E-Verify Handbook, a book that I co-authored with Greg Siskind, available at Additionally, I advise you to consult with immigration counsel familiar with worksite enforcement before ICE/HSI show up at your door.