Protocol for Requests from Federal Agents
Columbia College recognizes that the United States government may contact College employees for immigration-related information about an international student. Agents may represent a variety of organizations, including the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI), Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE), Homeland Security Investigations (HSI), the Department of Labor (DOL), etc. Inquiries could come in the form of a telephone call, written correspondence, or visit to campus (scheduled or unscheduled).
The reason for the inquiry may be routine in nature, such as confirming information on an international student in the Student and Exchange Visitor Information System (SEVIS). More uncommon requests may relate to alleged involvement in a criminal or national security matter (or something in between).
The purpose of this policy is to provide information and guidelines for handling requests from federal agents.
This policy applies to all members of the College community.
The protocol below assists employees in responding to requests in the form of a telephone call, written correspondence, or unscheduled visit.
- Telephone call from ICE, the FBI, or another government agency requesting information about an individual:
- Do not panic. Oftentimes, agents contact the College to confirm information they already know.
- Make a written summary of the telephone conversation (agent’s name, time, date and nature of call).
- Inform the agent that the College has protocols in place to respond to inquiries and assure him/her that the request will be addressed in a timely manner.
- Ask the agent to fax or e-mail a written inquiry on official letterhead. Requests should be sent by email to the International Center at email@example.com. If the agent refuses to provide a written inquiry, ask for a telephone number and let the agent know that someone will follow up.
- Once the call with the agent ends, call the International Center at (573) 875-2756 to inform staff about the conversation and to provide any additional information/context.
- Written correspondence (e-mail, letter, document request, etc.) from ICE, the FBI, or another government agency requesting information about an individual:
- Call the International Center at (573) 875-2756 to inform staff about the written request and to provide any additional information/context.
- Send the request by e-mail to the International Center at firstname.lastname@example.org.
- Unscheduled visit from ICE, the FBI, or another government agency requesting information about an individual:
- Do not panic. Oftentimes, agents visit campus to confirm information they already know.
- Typically, the agent will show photo identification. If not, ask to see photo identification.
- Inform the agent that the College has protocols in place to ensure that federal inquiries are addressed and assure him/her that the request will be addressed in a timely manner.
- Contact the International Center at (573) 875-2756, indicating that you have an urgent immigration situation, that an ICE/FBI agent is on the premises, and that you need to speak with someone immediately.
- If the agent provides a subpoena or search warrant, inform the agent that you are not authorized to review the document and ask the agent to wait while you contact the Office of General Counsel at (573) 875-7722.
- General Counsel will review the subpoena or search warrant to ensure that it meets legal requirements and will respond accordingly.
- To the extent that the document provided involves a potential criminal matter, the appropriate authorities may be notified.
In the situations outlined above, it is important to respect the privacy of any individuals involved. Details of the conversation should not be shared with others unless it is a College official with a legitimate “need to know.” Appropriate College staff will examine requests to ensure that they meet legal requirements and will respond accordingly.
If a request is made outside of normal business hours, please contact Campus Safety at (573) 875-7315.