Labor Joins Elected Leaders, Immigrant Workers to Unveil Immigrant Worker Protection Act

No one should live in fear for simply going to work. Yet, for many immigrants, this is the harsh reality under President Trump’s increasingly aggressive deportation actions, which threaten California immigrant workers, employers and our state’s economy. Today the California Labor Federation, SEIU California and SEIU-USWW joined Assemblymember David Chiu and immigrant workers in San Francisco to unveil the Immigrant Worker Protection Act (AB 450), a new bill that provides protections to immigrant workers from aggressive workplace raids that violate basic rights.

California Labor Federation Executive Secretary-Treasurer Art Pulaski:

“Immigrant workers are living in a constant state of deep anxiety as the Trump Administration continues its threats to tear their families apart. No one should have to live in fear at work. Yet, every single day immigrant workers and their employers are faced with the threat of indiscriminate workplace raids that would harm families, disrupt business and weaken California’s economy. AB 450 sends a clear message that California is committed to protecting immigrant workers on the job.”

AB 450 affirmatively protects workers from immigration enforcement in their workplaces, many of which unlawfully violate worker rights. For example, past raids occurred under the auspices of narrow, individual arrest warrants that ICE then used to question and detain every single worker, including U.S. citizens & lawfully present workers –  violating their basic constitutional rights. The bill is an important component of California’s efforts to protect hard-working immigrants from being targeted by Trump’s escalating anti-immigrant actions.

AB 450 author Chiu, a son of immigrants and former civil rights attorney:

“Trump’s threats of massive deportations are spreading fear among California workers, families, and employers. AB 450 declares California’s determination to protect our economy and the people who are working hard to contribute to our communities and raise their families in dignity.  I’m proud to author this legislation which goes beyond California’s existing defense of immigrants to offer new legal protections for individuals in our workplaces.  At the same time, AB 450 offers employers clarity about what to do when ICE agents target their places of business with indiscriminate raids.”

SEIU-USWW President David Huerta:

“AB 450 is California’s latest and boldest challenge to the Trump deportation force that has mercilessly targeted immigrants despite their significant contributions to our communities and our economy,” said David Huerta SEIU USWW President.  “With this bill, our state can be proud to lead the nation with the strongest resistance efforts to protect workers not just in the community but in the workplace where hard-working people make California and our economy successful every day.”

Key components of AB 450 include:

  • Protecting workers from being wrongfully detained in their workplace by requiring employers to ask for a judicial warrant before granting ICE access to a worksite.
  • Preventing employers from sharing confidential employee information, such as a social security number, without a subpoena.
  • Requiring employers to notify the Labor Commissioner and employee representative of a worksite raid. Employers must also notify the Labor Commissioner, employees, and employee representatives of an I-9 audit.
  • Preventing employers from retaliating against employees who report labor claims by enabling workers crucial to a labor claim investigation to receive certification from the Labor Commissioner. This certification would both protect the worker and aid in successfully adjudicating labor violations.

The Immigrant Worker Protection Act is co-authored by State Senator Scott Wiener (D-San Francisco) and Assemblymembers Phil Ting (D-San Francisco) and Rob Bonta (D-Oakland).

“Our immigrant neighbors should know that simply going to work to put food on the table is not going to expose them to deportation or ICE agents,” said Senator Wiener (D-San Francisco). “Children shouldn’t be fearful watching their mothers and fathers leave for work, not knowing if they are going to come home at the end of the day. These laws will help keep our immigrant communities more secure as they continue to go about living their lives peacefully and productively, and I’m proud to join Assemblymember Chiu as a co-author on this bill.”

“Immigrants are a vibrant part of California’s culture and economy,” said Assemblymember Ting. “As the president fosters fear and mistrust, we must fight back. All immigrants come to this country for a better life.  By protecting their rights, we preserve the many contributions they make to our great state.”

“Californians value justice,  compassion and keeping immigrant families together,” said Assemblymember Bonta. “AB 450 requires important safeguards be put in place to protect workers from being singled out and having their due process rights violated on the basis of their immigration status.”

AB 450 is expected to be heard in Assembly policy committees in April.