While some support the gusto with which the Trump administration is targeting vast swaths of immigrants for deportation, California lawmakers have taken a stance in support of them. In addition to symbolic gestures, legal acts of some consequence are being undertaken.
California’s Immigrant Protection Act (AB450) provides workers with strict protections from federal immigration authorities and levels fines of from $2-20,000 for violations of these protective provisions:
- Non-public areas of a workplace may not be accessed by federal immigration officials unless they have a warrant;
- Employee records cannot be accessed by federal immigration agents without a warrant or subpoena.
I-9 Identity and Employment Forms
Employers may not put current employees through the employment verification process outside of federal employment verification parameters given to determine worker eligibility. Furthermore, employers are required to:
- Post a notification to current employees and collective bargaining agents within 72 hours of any federal immigration agent inspection of these forms;
- If an employee is identified as lacking proper authorization to work, that person, and the collective bargaining representative, must be given a written explanation of the inspection results and the obligations of both the employer and the employee under federal law.
Under California’s Sanctuary State bill (SB54) law enforcement agencies are barred from using state or local resources to assist with immigration enforcement. That puts facilities, property, personnel, finances, and equipment out of bounds of ICE agents. In addition, local officials are not allowed to inquire about immigration status and may not give access to federal immigration authorities or assist them in any way. There is an exception for wanted criminals who are undocumented. ICE agents may be notified of the pending release of individuals who have been convicted of multiple counts of drunk driving, assault of a police officer, or hit and run accidents. State and local officials are also given the discretion to contact ICE agents when undocumented individuals have been convicted of any of 700 other criminal offenses. However, those convictions must have occurred within the past 15 years.
Fighting the Wall
Berkeley and Oakland, two cities in the Bay area, are denying contracts to any firms that participate in the construction of the proposed wall along the border of the U.S. and Mexico. Companies will have to think twice about the financial repercussions of involvement with the wall.
A Complex Situation
The questions around undocumented immigration continue to swirl as state and federal goals and policies collide. As an employee in the construction industry, in law enforcement, or in virtually any California business, chances are you will be confronted with issues related to immigration in this state. How will you respond? If the legal questions plague you, the experienced and ethical team at HKM Employment Law can come to your aid. Contact us in Los Angeles to discuss your concerns.