When midnight struck and 2018 rolled in, businesses were faced again with yet another challenge. All at once, Governor Brown designated California a sanctuary state, Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) Acting Director Thomas Homan promised increased enforcement in California with “no sanctuary” from federal law enforcement, and AB 450 (Chiu) was set in motion with mandates that are at odds with federal mandates.
The new state policies essentially require businesses to limit compliance with federal laws, such as prohibiting employers from allowing federal agents from going into nonpublic areas and coming into contact with employee records in the workplace unless specific documentation, like a judicial warrant, is furnished by immigration officials. In late 2017, Homan asserted that “we are taking worksite enforcement very [seriously] this year [and] we’ve already increased the number of inspections in work site operations,” and instructed agency officials to quadruple or more worksite enforcements in 2018. Employers may not think immigration enforcement will happen until it does and when ICE agents show up, there is no doubt that employers and their employees will have more difficulties navigating between state and federal immigration enforcement policies.
On top of enforcing policies, $97.6 million in penalties were assessed to businesses in 2017 by ICE and with the state announcing its own crackdown on employers who violate new state laws with prosecution and fines up to $10,000, businesses must learn about their rights, be prepared with a detailed process for their worksite and workforce, and secure other resources needed to ensure compliance and protect their hard earned investment during a time when state and federal laws create dissonance when it comes to immigration enforcement laws. The Protect Your Worksite & Workforce webinar and in-person presentations, produced by BizFed and the BizFed Institute, are available as a key resource for businesses to navigate.
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