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California Legislature

California expands protections for immigrants against ICE workplace raids

Gov. Jerry Brown signed a bill into law Thursday to expand workplace protections for employees who came to the U.S. illegally, part of the state’s response to the Trump administration's call for greater immigration enforcement.

The bill by Assemblyman David Chiu (D-San Francisco) prohibits employers from allowing federal immigration agents on private business property without a judicial warrant. It also requires 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, though some exceptions may apply.

New amendments scaled back some of the requirements on employers, helping quell opposition from dozens of business and agricultural associations. Under the new law, employers will have more flexibility to notify employees about reviews.

Chiu has said he filed the bill in response to President Trump's attacks on immigrant communities. Lawmakers pointed to California's troubled history of worksite 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 has said.

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