Any business in California that cooperates with federal immigration officials will face prosecution, according to state Attorney General Xavier Becerra.
Addressing rumors of raids by Immigration and Customs Enforcement agents, Becerra said at a Thursday press conference, “It’s important, given these rumors out there, to let people and more specifically employers know that if they voluntarily start giving up information about their employees in ways that contradict our new California laws.”
The state has two new laws that took effect in 2018, AB 450 and SB 54, that protect illegal aliens, effectively making California a sanctuary state that ignores federal immigration law.
Becerra added, “AB 450, in particular, deals with the workplace, in particular, and how we go about treating the information about the workplace and employees of the workplace by employers such that we try to protect the privacy interest of people who work there, and that we aren’t sharing information in ways that would violate the rights, the privacy rights of individuals. and the ability of folks to work free of coercion and free of fear at the workplace.”
“Ignorance of the law is no excuse if you violate it,” Becerra said.
Asked if his office was prepared to prosecute companies that cooperate with ICE, the state attorney general made clear he was.
“If there are violators of California law out there, law enforcement will investigate and prosecuting authorities, could be the local prosecuting authorities or it could be the attorney general’s office, will prosecute those who violate the law.”
What do these “new laws” say?
The relevant state law is AB 450.
Under AB 450, employers are prohibited from “providing voluntary consent to an immigration enforcement agent to enter nonpublic areas of a place of labor unless the agent provides a judicial warrant, except as specified.”
Employers in California are also prohibited under AB 450 from “reverify[ing] the employment eligibility of a current employee at a time or in a manner not required by federal law.”