Federal Court Suspends Portion of California Sanctuary State Law

A federal judge in California recently halted enforcement of part of AB 450, one of California’s “Sanctuary State” laws.  The law took effect in October 2017 and provides that employers:

·         May not allow federal immigration officials to access the employer’s nonpublic work areas unless the officials have a judicial warrant;

·         May not allow federal immigration officials to access employee records without a subpoena or judicial warrant;

·         Must provide notice to its employees before and after the federal government inspects the employer’s I-9 forms; and

·         May not re-verify an employee’s lawful work authorization status unless required to do so by federal law.

The U.S. Department of Justice sued California over AB 450 in March 2018, claiming the law interferes with the federal government’s enforcement of immigration law.  The judge temporarily suspended enforcement of one key portion of the law that requires immigration officials to have a judicial warrant before accessing an employer’s nonpublic work area.  While the temporary suspension is in effect, employers may allow federal immigration officials into nonpublic work areas without a warrant.  However, employers must still give the required notices to employees regarding the inspections.  Notice requirements are detailed, and employers should consult with counsel if needed.

This is certainly not the last word in the ongoing conflict between California and the federal government on immigration.  California employers should stay informed and contact myHRcounsel with any questions. 

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