The Pushback Against Workplace Immigration Raids

California lawmakers are educating employers on workers' rights as immigration raids ramp up.
By: | February 16, 2018 • 2 min read
Topics: Employment Law
Book with title immigration law on a table.

As the Trump administration continues to advocate for more deportations of illegal immigrants, some state lawmakers are pushing back.

Immigration and Customs Enforcement has zeroed in on workplaces in recent months, raiding nearly 100 7-Eleven stores on a single day in January in an attempt to root out illegal workers and delivering audit notices—which allow them to inspect employee records—to more than 75 worksites in Northern California last month. California has become one of the states leading the charge against ICE’s ramped-up approach, adopting legislation in the fall to protect the rights of workers who came to the country illegally, a population estimated to be about 2 million in the Golden State.


Earlier this week, state officials held a press conference to release additional guidance about the legislation, attempting to assuage fears of business owners that the new measure would put them in violation of federal law, according to the L.A. Times:

“Let me stress again, AB 450 is about privacy, constitutional rights and Californians at the workplace,” California Attorney General Xavier Becerra Becerra said at the news conference. “There is no conflict with what AB 450 requires and what federal laws require.”

The law in question, the Immigrant Worker Protection Act, lays down guidelines for what employers can—and can’t—do if ICE comes knocking. Primarily, it prohibits private businesses from permitting federal agents on their property unless they have a warrant. If they do, employers have 72 hours to let their workers know if immigration agents are inspecting employee records.

Companies that don’t comply could pay the price: up to $5,000 for a first violation and up to $10,000 for subsequent violations.