California Labor Commissioner Julie Su is on a campaign to prohibit federal immigration agents from entering offices where employees go to report underpayment and workplace retaliation unless they have warrants.
According to Su, there have been three instances within the last year in which Immigrations and Customs Enforcement (ICE) agents sought information about California workers who had filed claims against their employers, the Sacramento Bee reported. Two of those instances saw agents attempt to attend hearings held between investigators, workers and their employers.
âWhat (the workers) say is âI donât want to pursue my case anymore,â Su said of the threat of ICE becoming involved in the complaint proceedings. âItâs our job to prevent retaliation, not assist in it.â
Su, who has been the stateâs top labor official since 2011, claimed that there has been an uptick in employers threatening to deport workers unless they agree to not report poorer working conditions and shorted wages.
She has been joined in the effort to thwart ICE from deporting illegal immigrant workers by David Chiu, a Democratic assemblyman from San Francisco who has been an outspoken critic of the Trump administrationâs approach to immigration law enforcement.
âThe atmosphere of fear created by Trump and ICEâs expanded dragnet hurt all California workers,â he said. âWe have to do everything we can to fight back, and itâs great to see our labor commissioner taking a stand against the small minority of unscrupulous employers who are illegally retaliating against their employees.â
However, California Republicans have been swift to decry their Democratic counterpartsâ sanctuary policies as insubordinate.
âI think itâs a black mark on California to have agencies of the state advocating the violation of federal law,â said State Sen. Jim Nielsen (R-Gerber), a prominent supporter of President Donald Trumpâs immigration agenda. He believes that more California agencies will soon follow the path set by Su in an effort to undermine federal authorities.