SAN FRANCISCO (CBS SF) — The Immigrant Worker Protection Act, which aims to prohibit California employers from allowing immigration agents to enter a workplace or view their employees’ files without a subpoena or a warrant, passed the State Assembly on Wednesday.
The bill, AB 450, now heads to the State Senate.
Assemblyman David Chiu (D-San Francisco), who co-authored the bill with State Senator Scott Weiner (D-San Francisco), said in a statement Wednesday, “In an environment of division and fear, California must continue to defend its workers, to guard its values, and to ensure that its laws protect all of our residents.”
Chiu’s office says the bill comes as arrests of immigrants with no criminal records have more than doubled in the first few months of 2017 and aims to protect immigrants from feared workplace raids.
AB 450 also aims to prevent employers from retaliating against employees who report unfair labor conditions, such as an employer blocking their rights to minimum wage, meal breaks, or organizing activity protected by California law, regardless of a person’s immigration status.
Employers also would be required to notify the Labor Commission and an employee representative of any worksite raid or an audit by ICE.
The bill places monetary penalties for employers who fail to follow it.
Assemblyman Travis Allen (R-Huntington Beach) told the Associated Press that the bill puts employers in an uncomfortable position by limiting them from cooperating with federal law enforcement.
SEIU California and the California Labor Federation are among the bill’s sponsors.
“California has the chance to lead the nation and demonstrate that the answer to mindless hate and indiscriminate targeting of immigrants is respect for every individual’s legal rights and due process,” SEIU USWW President David Huerta said in a statement.
By Hannah Albarazi – Follow her on Twitter: @hannahalbarazi.