California bill implements workforce protections against ICE sweeps

Central Coast employers react to...

SALINAS, Calif. - A new California law is implementing workforce protections against ICE sweeps. The sponsor of the bill, said it was needed because of ramped up raids across the country and in California.

AB 450 also known as the Immigrant Worker Protection Act outlines the responsibilities of employers during immigration enforcement raids.

"An economy where one in three California workers is an immigrant, where one out of 10 California workers lack documentation due to the failure of Washington D.C. to enact comprehensive immigration reform,” said Assembly member David Chiu.

Under the newly enacted Immigrant Worker Protection Act employers must ask for a judicial warrant before granting ice access to non-public areas of a worksite. The act prevents them from sharing confidential employee information without a subpoena and requires them to notify employees before an audit takes place.

If federal officers come into a workplace with a judicial order, at that point employers are obligated to follow federal law.

This week the Labor Commission and Attorney General's office clarified to employers their responsibilities, like being able to identify subpoenas and warrants and how to keep their employees informed and penalties of not doing so.

"Our immigrant community really takes on those hard jobs,” said Sergio Sanchez, President of Hispanic Chamber of Commerce.

We reached out to the president and CEO of the Hispanic Chamber of Commerce on the Central Coast.

Businesses he spoke with appreciate the effort though those same businesses wouldn't go on camera with us.

"Regardless if you have a documented workforce or not, you don't know that, you're not an expert at it. There's always a fear to put them under the radar of the federal government. Obviously they are going around doing raids at workplaces, they just raided 7/11's, people are fearful regardless if they have undocumented workers or not,” said Sanchez.

We also reached out to ICE to get their take on the new law. Listed below is a statement:

"AB450 reflects yet another effort by the State of California to interfere with federal immigration enforcement authorities. We expect employers and state officials to comply with federal law. Federal law established by the Immigration Reform and Control Act (IRCA) of 1986 requires employers to verify the identity and work eligibility of all individuals they hire. ICE is the federal agency responsible for enforcing these laws, which were set up to  protect jobs for U.S. citizens and others who are lawfully employed, and to eliminate unfair competitive advantages for companies that hire an illegal workforce. ICE's worksite enforcement investigators help combat worker exploitation, illegal wages, child labor, and other illegal practices."

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