SAN FRANCISCO (CBS SF) — Recent workplace raids by federal agents in search of undocumented immigrants has California legislators proposing a new law that would require employers to alert employees to any planned federal immigration raids, or face up $25,000 in fines.
In California, nearly one out of every ten workers is an undocumented immigrant, or about 1.75 million people, according to the Pew Research Center.
Under current California law, employers don’t have to inform their employees if there is a planned federal immigration sweep at their place of work.
The proposed legislation, authored by Assemblyman David Chiu, D-San Francisco, aims to protect undocumented workers.
Recent immigration enforcement actions have taken place in at least half a dozen states, ICE officials have confirmed.
California employers would also be required to ask for a judicial warrant before giving federal immigration agents access to workplaces. Additionally, the law would prohibits employers from giving their employee’s confidential information to federal immigration agents without a subpoena.
The employer would also be required to alert the state Labor Commissioner prior to any planned workplace raid.
The Service Employees International Union (SEIU) California and the California Labor Federation are also supporting the proposed legislation.
In a statement released Friday, Chiu’s office also said, “In California, workers have reported employers threatening to call immigration authorities when workers attempt to exercise their rights to minimum wages, to meal breaks, or to organizing activities that are protected by California law regardless of documentation status.”
According to the Public Policy Institute of California’s 2013 estimates, there are roughly 183,500 undocumented immigrants in Santa Clara County; 129,500 in Alameda County; 77, 500 in Contra Costa County; 59,500 in San Mateo County and 35,000 in San Francisco.
At 814,000, Los Angeles was by far the California county with the most undocumented immigrants.
Chiu’s office said they hadn’t heard of any similar legislation in other U.S. states yet.
By Hannah Albarazi – Follow her on Twitter: @hannahalbarazi.