Assemblymember David Chiu Joins Attorney General Xavier Becerra to Release Guidance on the Immigrant Worker Protection Act

Tuesday, February 13, 2018

(SACRAMENTO)--Assemblymember David Chiu (D-San Francisco) today joined Attorney General Xavier Becerra to issue guidance on the employer requirements of Assembly Bill 450, the Immigrant Worker Protection Act, which took effect on January 1. The Attorney General and California Labor Commissioner Julie Su also issued a Frequently Asked Questions document with additional details.

Assemblymember Chiu authored AB 450 last year as President Trump began to put his hateful anti-immigrant campaign rhetoric into action. The law gives workers new labor protections and outlines the responsibilities of employers during immigration enforcement actions, and was the result of a collaborative partnership between Assemblymember Chiu, SEIU California, and the California Labor Federation.  

"Immigrant workers should not have to go to work every day in fear of being deported," said Assemblymember Chiu, who is a son of immigrant parents. “The Immigrant Worker Protection Act was meant to not only give protections to California workers but also to ensure employers know what to do if immigration officials target their businesses with indiscriminate raids.”

Specific provisions of The Immigrant Worker Protection Act include:

  • Protecting workers from being wrongfully detained in their workplace by requiring employers to ask for a judicial warrant before granting ICE access to non-public areas of a worksite.
  • Preventing employers from sharing confidential employee information, such as a social security number, without a subpoena.
  • Requiring employers to notify employees both before an audit of employee records takes place and also providing the employee with results of those audits.
  • Preventing employers from unnecessarily re-verifying employment eligibility forms unless otherwise required by federal law.

The guidance issued today by Attorney General Becerra and Labor Commissioner Julie Su clarified employers’ responsibilities during enforcement actions. The guidance includes information on what constitutes a non-public area of a worksite, how to identify subpoenas and judicial warrants, how to notify employees an audit will be taking place, and the penalties associated with breaking this law.

This law and the related guidance come into effect just as ICE conducted 77 workplace audits in Northern California and carried out immigration raids at nearly 100 7-Eleven convenience stores in a nationwide sweep.  

As the Los Angeles Times has reported, ICE raids and Trump’s threats of mass deportation have sparked fear among employers as well as immigrant communities. According to the Public Policy Institute of California, over 2.6 million undocumented immigrants reside in California. Undocumented workers make up 45 percent of California’s agricultural workforce and 21 percent of construction. In fact, almost 1 in every 10 workers in California is undocumented.

California has not had a good history with worksite raids. Past raids occurred under the auspices of narrow individual arrest warrants that ICE used to question and detain every single worker at a worksite, including U.S. citizens and workers lawfully present - violating their basic constitutional rights.

"No one should live in fear simply for going to work," said California Labor Federation Executive Secretary-Treasurer Art Pulaski. "We commend Assemblymember Chiu for his leadership in ensuring that immigrant workers are protected on the job through this landmark law."

“The Immigrant Worker Protection Act is the only law of its kind in the nation to provide protection for immigrant workers. It is vital that California protect the human and economic investment we have made in our communities to keep our golden state thriving,” said David Huerta, president of Service Employees International Union-Unit; [ed Service Workers West (SEIU-USWW). “SEIU thanks Asm. Chiu for partnering on this measure so our immigrant workers can continue supporting their families and have dignity in their workplaces.”

###

Assemblymember David Chiu (D – San Francisco) is the Chair of the Housing & Community Development Committee of the California State Assembly. He represents the 17th Assembly District, which encompasses eastern San Francisco.