State lawmakers propose new workplace protections for immigrants

SAN FRANCISCO (BCN)
   
Bay Area lawmakers are seeking to add new protections for immigrant workers and proposed new responsibilities for employers in providing access to federal immigration enforcement agents, the latest effort to limit federal action in the state under President Donald Trump.
   
Assemblyman David Chiu, D-San Francisco, announced the proposed legislation at San Francisco's Saint Agnes Church this morning. He authored the bill, AB 450, with fellow San Francisco politicians Assemblyman Phil Ting and state Sen. Scott Wiener as well as Oakland Assemblyman Rob Bonta.
   
According to Chiu's office, it would require employers to ask for a judicial warrant before allowing agents with the U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement access to workplaces, prohibit employers from sharing confidential employee information without a subpoena and require employers to notify the state Labor Commissioner in the case of a workplace raid.
   
"Trump's threats of massive deportations are spreading fear among California workers, families, and employers," Chiu said. "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."

The legislation drew support from labor groups like the Service Employees International Union and the California Labor Federation.
   
"Immigrant workers are living in a constant state of deep anxiety as the Trump Administration continues its threats to tear their families apart," labor federation executive secretary-treasurer Art Pulaski said.
   
"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," Pulaski said.
   
Trump has pledged to hire 10,000 new ICE agents to enforce federal immigration law, but California has vowed efforts to block the president's efforts, including other legislation that would pass statewide sanctuary rules, limiting cooperation between local law enforcement with federal immigration agents.
   
"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," Wiener said. "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."

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