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Expanded work-site protections against ICE raids could be coming to California under bill sent to Gov. Brown

Assemblyman David Chiu (D-San Francisco) talks with Assemblywoman Monique Limon (D-Goleta). (Rich Pedroncelli / Associated Press)
Assemblyman David Chiu (D-San Francisco) talks with Assemblywoman Monique Limon (D-Goleta). (Rich Pedroncelli / Associated Press)

After negotiations to help quell opposition from dozens of business associations and agricultural groups, the state Assembly sent a bill to Gov. Jerry Brown on Wednesday that would expand workplace protections for employees without legal residency in the U.S.

The bill by Assemblyman David Chiu (D-San Francisco) would prohibit employers from allowing federal immigration agents on private business property without a judicial warrant. It also would require business owners to give their employees public notice — within 72 hours — of federal immigration inspections of employee records.

Businesses that fail to provide notice to employees face penalties of $2,000 to $5,000 for a first violation and $5,000 to $10,000 for each subsequent violation, unless some exceptions apply.

New amendments scaled back some of the requirements on employers. Under the bill's provisions, employers would have more flexibility to notify employees about reviews. And they would no longer have to report to the state labor commissioner any self-audits of employee records or any work-site raids or audits by U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement.

Some opponents remain, including California Citrus Mutual, the California Cotton Ginners and Growers Assn. and and the Society for Human Resource Management. The California Chamber of Commerce, the California Farm Bureau Federation and the Western Growers Assn. were among those removing their opposition to the proposal.

Chiu has said he filed the bill in response to President Trump's attack on immigrant communities, a message that has reverberated across California, a state with its own troubled past with work-site raids. In the 1980s, the federal government launched aggressive immigration raids in Mexican and Central American neighborhoods in Los Angeles. 

"In an environment of division and fear, California must continue to defend its workers, to guard its values and to ensure that its laws protect all of our residents,” Chiu said.

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