On Jan. 1, a California law took effect that prohibits employers from providing “voluntary consent” to a federal immigration enforcement agent’s request to enter nonpublic work areas — and California’s Attorney General recently said he will indeed, “prosecute those who violate the law.”
– The law, the Immigrant Worker Protection Act, makes it so employers must ask for a warrant if federal agents try to enter nonpublic spaces and a subpoena if they want confidential employee information.
This law adds a new layer of complexity to managing a workforce with immigrants. Employers in California should consider training managers and front-facing employees on what to do should Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) agents show up on your property, as allowing them access to non-public areas or confidential records will violate California law.
ICE has promised to quadruple workplace visits, especially within the food industry, thus making renewed training a priority in California locations. Ensure your I-9 process is up-to-date, especially since the document has seen multiple updates within the past year, and consider having a lawyer review any documents ICE may provide.