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.
“What (the workers) say is ‘I don’t want to pursue my case anymore,” Su said of the threat of ICE becoming involved in the complaint proceedings. “It’s our job to prevent retaliation, not assist in it.”
Su, who has been the state’s 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 administration’s approach to immigration law enforcement.
“The atmosphere of fear created by Trump and ICE’s expanded dragnet hurt all California workers,” he said. “We have to do everything we can to fight back, and it’s great to see our labor commissioner taking a stand against the small minority of unscrupulous employers who are illegally retaliating against their employees.”
However, California Republicans have been swift to decry their Democratic counterparts’ sanctuary policies as insubordinate.
“I think it’s a black mark on California to have agencies of the state advocating the violation of federal law,” said State Sen. Jim Nielsen (R-Gerber), a prominent supporter of President Donald Trump’s immigration agenda. He believes that more California agencies will soon follow the path set by Su in an effort to undermine federal authorities.