On March 6, 2018, the U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ) filed a complaint against the State of California over three state statutes it claims interfere with its ability to control immigration, thereby allowing California to be a “sanctuary state.” The California statutes involved include: (1) Assembly Bill 450 “Immigrant Worker Protection Act,” (2) Assembly Bill 103, and (3) Senate Bill 54. The complaint in The United States of America v. The State of California states that “[t]hese provisions are preempted by federal law and impermissibly discriminate against the United States, and therefore violate the Supremacy Clause of the United States Constitution.”
While the DOJ’s lawsuit is important and has potential to greatly affect employers and employees within California, the statutes mentioned remain in effect unless and until the court rules otherwise. Employers and employees should be aware of the ramifications and effects of each statute, particularly Assembly Bill 450.
Assembly Bill 450 (“AB 450”)
AB 450, effective January 1, 2018, created several new laws regarding U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) raids. AB 450 prohibits all public and private employers from giving voluntary consent to ICE agents to enter into any non-public area without a warrant. The law also prohibits employers from giving voluntary consent to an agent to access, review, or obtain the employer’s employee records without a Notice of Inspection.
Employers should be informed and prepared, as violations of AB 450 may result in civil penalties up to $10,000 per violation. Employers confronted by ICE agents should request a valid warrant in an area away from employees. If an employer receives a Notice of Inspection for an employee’s records, the employer must notify the employee within 72 hours.
Supervisors and agents of employers should also be aware of AB 450 and its requirements, as they will often be acting on behalf of their employer.