Citing California’s new sanctuary law, the state’s Attorney General Xavier Becerra threatened any employer with prosecution for aiding federal immigration authorities, but according to Gov. Jerry Brown’s signing statement of the state sanctuary law, the legislation does not prohibit federal officials from performing their duties in any way.
“In enshrining these new protections, it is important to note what the bill does not do,” Gov. Brown wrote in his signing message on Senate Bill 54 back in October. “This bill does not prevent or prohibit Immigration and Customs Enforcement or the Department of Homeland Security from doing their own work in any way. They are free to use their own considerable resources to enforce federal immigration law in California.”
Then ICE acting director Thomas Hohman reacted to the newly passed law saying in a statement that the agency would “have no choice but to conduct at-large arrests in local neighborhoods and at worksites, which will inevitably result in additional collateral arrests, instead of focusing on arrests at jails and prisons where transfers are safer for ICE officers and the community.”
Despite Brown’s signing statement and Hohman’s warning, Becerra announced Thursday that employers in the state could face legal consequences which includes penalties that potentially stack up to $10,000 for helping federal immigration authorities crack down on illegal immigration.
“It’s important, given these rumors that are out there, to let people know – more specifically today, employers – that if they voluntarily start giving up information about their employees or access to their employees in ways that contradict our new California laws, they subject themselves to actions by my office,” state Attorney General Xavier Becerra said at a press conference. “We will prosecute those who violate the law.”
California’s sanctuary law, The Sacramento Bee reports, mandates any employers to ask federal immigration agents for a warrant prior to allowing the agents entry to their business. The law also prevents employers from giving private staff information without a subpoena and requires businesses to tell their employees that a federal audit will happen prior to its occurrence.
Additionally, employers cannot ask their employees to re-verify their information unless they are forced to do so by federal law.