Fresno, CA Update 2.20.18: Datatech has been reporting on increased ICE auditing in California and across the country in recent weeks and the mainstream media has been picking up their coverage of the issue.
ICE Acting Director Thomas Homan had thrown down the gauntlet last Fall saying that his agency would increase enforcement efforts four or five times, especially in California. That has proven true, after an ICE spokesperson was quoted in a recent Fresno Bee article saying that some 80 Form I-9 audit notices were sent out between January 29-31 in the agency’s jurisdiction which includes northern California, Hawaii, Guam and Saipan. Several of the audit notices targeted California’s Central Valley and the Bay Area Ag employers.
Datatech has publish important information for our clients and Ag employers in general from FELS below. As an employer, you may be doing your best to be in compliance, but It’s always good to know what immigration resources you have at your disposal, your rights under California law AB 450 and that there are agencies supporting Ag employers like FELS, which is an extension of the California Farm Bureau. Datatech is a FELS member and you can sign up too at FELS.net. Members have access to services and information vital to their Ag human resources efforts.
Datatech serves agribusiness across America with farm accounting, payroll, HR and sales and inventory software.
Fresno, CA – Datatech has learned through the Farm Employers Labor Service that the US Immigration and Customs Enforcement has been actively auditing Form I-9’s at multiple packing sheds in the state of California. According to FELS, the Central Valley, Bay Area, Sacramento and San Jose have been targeted by ICE, no other information is available.
So what does that mean? It means that ICE, as has been reported on widely here and in other media, is following through on their warning of ‘zero-tolerance’ on immigration employment violations. Since January 1 in California, Assembly Bill 450 prohibits employers from voluntarily permitting ICE access to the work site without a judicial warrant. The new 2018 law also requires employers to provide their workers with notice of certain immigration enforcement actions, and imposes new statutory penalties for violations of these requirements.
Ag employers should know the law when ICE sends notice or shows up to their business office seeking access, information or documents. Audits by ICE provide a 72 hour notice of inspection letter with details of what they’re looking for, how they’d like the documents or whether they’re going to show up onsite.
Bryan Little of FELS has published a note on requirements of Government Code sections 7582.1, 7582.2 and 7582.3 and of Labor Code sections 90.2 and 1019.2, effective as of Jan. 1, 2018. If an ICE agent seeks to access your business premises or requests Forms I-9 or other documents, here’s what Little says the law requires of employers:
- You may not permit a federal immigration enforcement agent to access non-public areas of your operations if that agent does not present a judicial warrant compelling access. You may take that agent to a non-public area of your operation to verify the authenticity of a warrant being presented.
- You may not furnish documents in addition to those specified in the “72-hour letter” or “Notice of Inspection” without being compelled to do so by a judicial warrant or subpoena.
- You must give notice of inspection of Forms I-9 and related documents to employees within 72 hours of receiving the notice of inspection. You must provide:
- Notice of the date on which you received the Notice of Inspection;
- A description of the nature of the inspection to the extent known; and,
- A copy of the Notice of Inspection.
- You must furnish a copy of any agency notice providing the results of the inspection of documents provided pursuant to the Notice of Inspection to affected employees (and any exclusive bargaining representative who may represent the employees) with 72 hours of receipt. This notice must include:
- A description of deficiencies or other items identified in the written immigration inspection results related to the affected employee;
- The time allowed (as specified by the inspecting agency) for correcting any deficiencies;
- The time and date of any meeting with the employer to correct any identified deficiencies; and,
- Notice that the employee has a right to representation (by any exclusive bargaining representative that may represent the employees).
- You must also provide an affected employee with a copy of the Notice of Inspection upon reasonable request.
You can read the FELS note online here.
Datatech programs time saving software for accounting, payroll, HR, sales and inventory software designed specifically for an ag environment. With laws continually changing and impacting ag payroll, accounting and HR, Datatech, since 1980, is a trusted agribusiness source for our clients who make up hundreds of growers, labor contractors and produce shippers and packers across America.