East Bay Officials Want ICE Business Audits Stopped

BERKELEY (KCBS) – East Bay leaders have agreed to send letters to the Obama administration, asking that audits of businesses by Immigration and Customs Enforcement officials be stopped.

Labor leaders said they are concerned about the growing ICE practice, which they said is leading to mass firings across the country.

The audits have targeted employees with no legal immigration status and led to the firing of hundreds of janitors in San Francisco.

KCBS’ Anna Duckworth Reports:

The Alameda Labor Council said it is appealing to local leaders, after a recent audit at the Pacific Steel Castings Factory in Berkeley, which employs 500 people.

Oakland City Council Member Ignacio De La Fuente, who also serves as vice president of the union representing the workers, said firings at the factory could be imminent and affect hundreds of employees.

“The impact to them and their families is going to be very dramatic,” he said. “The impact to the economy and the entire operation of this plant is going to be very dramatic.”

De La Fuente said he wants the audits stopped while immigration reform is addressed.

Among those lending support to the United Food and Commercial Workers Union Local 5 was Gerardo Dominguez.

“It is really depressing to see hard-working, decent people being dehumanized by the system,” Dominguez said.

ICE officials wouldn’t confirm the Berkeley audit. But in a statement, it called the practice “one of its most powerful tools” in ensuring that businesses are complying with employment laws.

(Copyright 2011 by CBS San Francisco. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.)

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