“We will prosecute those who violate [California] law,” Becerra responded.
California Attorney General Xavier Becerra (D-CA) said during a press conference Thursday that employers in California who cooperate with Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) in their rumored upcoming immigration raids would be prosecuted if they cooperate in a manner that violates California law.
Becerra held the press conference following reports that ICE officials are “preparing for a major sweep in San Francisco and other Northern California cities.”
According to the San Francisco Chronicle:
“U.S. immigration officials have begun preparing for a major sweep in San Francisco and other Northern California cities in which federal officers would look to arrest more than 1,500 undocumented people while sending a message that immigration policy will be enforced in the sanctuary state, according to a source familiar with the operation.”
The Sacramento Bee’s Angela Hart asked Becerra if the attorney general’s office would take legal action against employers who cooperate with ICE officials.
“There are new laws in place in California now in 2018 with the advent of 2018. I mentioned two of them specifically, AB 450 and SB 54. AB 450 in particular deals with the workplace in particular and how we go about treating the information about the workplace and employees at the workplace by employers,” Becerra explained. “What we’re trying to make sure is that employers are aware that in 2018, there is a new law in place.”
Becerra then told the reporters gathered that ignorance of the new laws is not a defense.
The reporter followed up by asking if Becerra’s office would prosecute employers found to be in violation of AB 450.
“We will prosecute those who violate [California] law,” the attorney general responded.
The law Becerra is referring to, AB 450, is a complicated law that “puts employers in a difficult situation of having to comply with federal immigration law obligations on one hand and state law requirements on the other.”
Under AB 450, employers are prohibited from “providing voluntary consent to an immigration enforcement agent to enter nonpublic areas of a place of labor unless the agent provides a judicial warrant, except as specified.”
Employers in California are also prohibited under AB 450 from “reverify[ing] the employment eligibility of a current employee at a time or in a manner not required by federal law.”
California employers who violate the law face fines ranging from “$2,000 up to $5,000 for a first violation and $5,000 up to $10,000 for each subsequent violation.”