“California guides businesses on how to avoid ‘aiding and abetting’ immigration authorities”

The Sacramento Bee

“The California Attorney General Tuesday [February 13] issued details on how businesses can navigate a controversial new state law that limits employers’ cooperation with immigration authorities while still complying with federal law.

“…The new Immigrant Worker Protection Act (AB 450) went into effect at the start of the year and has caused concern and confusion among some employers. It requires employers to keep workers informed when the federal government is investigating their status and not to cooperate unless the immigration authorities present a judicial warrant or official audit notice.

“Many California businesses were not aware of the new rules, while others struggled to put its requirements into practice.

“Tuesday’s release of more information from the Attorney General and the California Labor Commissioner’s Office…was meant to bring clarity for businesses as workplace raids by ICE seem to grow more frequent in the state…

“…The acting director of U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement, Thomas Homan, has said his agency plans increased enforcement in California because of its declared status as a sanctuary state.

“…‘There is nothing we can do to protect Donald Trump from sending ICE agents to California,’ said California Assembly member David Chiu, D-San Francisco, the author of the law…‘What we can do is put laws in place to ... make sure that our employers are not aiding and abetting the anti-immigrant enforcement arm…and that is exactly what this law is about…’

“…Becerra said his office had reached out to businesses and trade groups across the state in sectors including agriculture, retail, construction and hospitality to inform them of the new state law and learn what provisions were hardest to understand prior to issuing the new guidelines.

“The California law requires employers keep employees informed of federal actions. Employers must post notices within 72 hours after receiving a federal audit notice requesting access to records, and inform individual employees if the federal government finds their records problematic.

“It also requires employers to verify that immigration officials seeking access to private areas of work places or employee records have a judicial warrant or an official audit notice.

“The law prohibits employers from cooperating based only on administrative warrants issued by government agency rather than courts. Those types of documents could include a ‘warrant of deportation or removal,’ according to the Attorney General’s office.”

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