California AG threatens to prosecute businesses that help in immigration sweeps
California attorney general Xavier Becerra warned businesses that his office would prosecute owners who assist the federal government in immigration sweeps for illegal aliens.
Becerra was one of the driving forces behind making California a sanctuary state. His threat is the latest salvo fired in what is now a full-fledged war between the federal government and the state of California over sanctuary policies.
"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 [a]ttorney [g]eneral Xavier Becerra said at a news conference. "We will prosecute those who violate the law."
Becerra's warning comes as fears spread of mass workplace raids following reports that immigration agents plan to target Northern California communities for deportations due in part to the state's "sanctuary" law, which seeks to restrict local law enforcement agencies' ability to cooperate with immigration authorities.
The Supreme Court has ruled that state and local governments need not cooperate with the federal government in enforcing immigration policies. But the court has been silent about states actively seeking to inhibit the feds in immigration actions.
What guidelines must employers follow to avoid prosecution for helping the feds?
Authored by San Francisco Democratic [a]ssemblyman David Chiu, the bill:
▪ Requires employers to ask immigration agents for a warrant before granting access to a worksite.
▪ Prevents employers from voluntarily sharing confidential employee information without a subpoena.
▪ Requires employers to notify their workers before a federal audit of employee records.
▪ Gives the attorney general and labor commissioner exclusive authority to enforce new provisions of state labor laws.
▪ Prohibits employers from re-verifying information on employment verification forms, unless compelled to by federal law.
In effect, employers who make just about any move to assist ICE in removing illegal aliens from their workplaces are being threatened with jail.
This is positively draconian. If California doesn't want to be part of the union of states, why doesn't it take Hollywood and Silicon Valley and remove itself from our company?
Recently, "New California" declared itself independent from the urban coastal areas of the state – the first step toward becoming the 51st state. Policies like those created by the A.G. give an important boost to those efforts, although the chances of success are still small. But the declaration highlights the vast differences between attitudes toward illegal aliens in the big cities and the rest of the state.
By tying the hands of employers who might want to fully cooperate with ICE, the state government of California is thumbing its nose at the supremacy clause of the U.S. Constitution, which clearly states:
... that the federal constitution, and federal law generally, take precedence over state laws, and even state constitutions. It prohibits states from interfering with the federal government's exercise of its constitutional powers, and from assuming any functions that are exclusively entrusted to the federal government.
By any stretch of the imagination, the federal government's "constitutional powers" include immigration enforcement. But constitutional legality has very little meaning to a rogue state government bent on defying Washington's legitimate powers to say who can come into this country and who can't.