Fresno, California – Datatech has learned that certain provisions of Assembly Bill 450 known as the Immigration Worker Protection Act that became law in California on January 1, 2018, have been blocked by the federal court this holiday week. The U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of California enjoined portions of the law on July 4.
Bryan Little of the Farm Labor Employers Service says, “The workplace access, document access and employment eligibility re-verification provisions of AB 450…In U.S. v. California, the court preliminarily enjoined the state from enforcing those provisions; the California Attorney General, Xavier Becerra, can ask the 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals to lift that injunction.”
It’s a blow to many in California who sought ‘Sanctuary State’ protections for the immigrant population and workforce and keep the current administration’s increased enforcement at bay in the state. Little went on to say, “The court let stand a provision of AB 450 that requires employers to notify employees of worksite enforcement actions or employment eligibility verification documents review by Immigration and Customs Enforcement or (ICE), and of any enforcement action by ICE as a result of a document review. You can download and print the required notice document from FELS and find more information about AB 450 compliance on the FELS website. The federal government unsuccessfully sought to enjoin enforcement of legislation passed by the Legislature in 2017(AB 103 and SB 54) to prevent state government agencies from cooperating with ICE and requiring the California attorney general to investigate and report on conditions in detention facilities used by ICE.”
Commenting on this latest development in the battle between the Federal Government and the State of California, Western Growers VP and General Counsel, Jason Resnick says, “AB 450, among other things, prohibits employers from providing voluntary consent to an immigration enforcement agent to enter nonpublic areas of a place of labor or to access, review or obtain the employer’s employee records. In blocking this provision, the court found that the law impermissibly discriminates against employers who choose to cooperate with the federal government.”
At the heart of the court’s latest ruling, is the enforcement of the Federal Immigration Reform and Control Act. Resnick says the court felt that it needed to block the re-verification provisions of AB 450 ruling that this provision tried to circumvent Congress’ purpose in allowing employers to make sure current employees were verified to work in the United States at any time for any reason.
So what does this all mean? Stay tuned. California Attorney General Becerra has shown himself to not be afraid to forge ahead even as the Federal Government is pushing back. Says Resnick, “The preliminary rulings, taken together, constitute a determination that the federal government is likely to succeed on the merits at trial on the challenge to the employer consent and re-verification provisions of AB 450, but not on its challenge to AB 103 and SB 54(reporting on private locked immigration detention centers and the sharing of immigration enforcement information between state and federal agencies) or the employee notice provision of AB 450. The next front in this legal battle is likely in a trial before United State District Court Judge John Mendez, and the case could likely wend its way to the United States Supreme Court.”
Datatech will continue to follow this story.
Datatech serves agribusinesses nationwide and provides today’s farm accounting software and payroll solutions to farmers, growers and labor contractors. As well as sales, traceability, and warehouse management solutions for fresh produce packers and shippers.