California Labor Commissioner nixes ICE interference

According to press reports, California’s top labor law enforcer, Labor Commissioner Julie Su, last month directed her staff to turn away Immigration and Customs Enforcement agents unless the federal officers have warrants.

The Sacramento Bee reports that “her directive followed three instances over the past 10 months in which immigration agents sought information about California workers who had filed claims against employers. In two cases, immigration agents attempted to attend hearings where investigators discuss claims with workers and their employers, Su said. In all three cases, the agents left when they were asked, she said.”

Su, the state’s labor commissioner since 2011, did not know how the immigration agents learned about the appointments.

Those contacts with immigration officers dovetail with a surge in complaints from California workers about employers threatening to have them deported. Last year, Su’s office in the Department of Industrial Relations investigated 14 complaints from workers who claimed their employers threatened them with immigration enforcement.

So far this year, the department has opened 58 immigration-based retaliation cases, Su said.

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