With the escalating tension between the State of California and U.S. immigration enforcement, California employers are expected to walk a very fine line, especially in agriculture. Many employees fear potential arrest and deportation, as Immigration and Customs Enforcement (“ICE”) agents have recently focused more on neighborhoods and work sites due to the restrictions California’s sanctuary policies have placed on cooperation between local and federal law enforcement, according to an article in the Los Angeles Times last Saturday, March 31, 2018.
The article continues to describe the arrest of a group of four farmworkers in Kern County who were not originally targeted by ICE, stating that farmers “fear more sweeps will drive away labor at a time when some are struggling to get enough workers to pick the crops.”
Additionally, the article referred to the number of people arrested in ICE’s sweep across the Central Valley in February, noting that of the 232 people arrested, “180 were either convicted criminals, had been issued a final order of removal, or had been previously removed from the U.S. and returned illegally.”
COUNSEL TO MANAGEMENT:
Interacting with ICE as an employer has become extremely difficult since the passage of AB 450 has restricted employers’ interactions with ICE, as we have reported on here. We also released a podcast in February titled “I-9 Audits – What to Do When ICE Shows Up,” which is a good complement to our updated “What to Do When ICE Shows Up” cheat sheets. These cheat sheets now include employers’ responsibilities under AB 450, and we encourage you to refer to them should ICE show up at your business. If you have any questions about what to do when ICE shows up, or you don’t yet have an updated version of this cheat sheet and would like one, please contact the experts at The Saqui Law Group.