The office of U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) issued a press release in response to Governor Jerry Brown’s approval of California Senate Bill 54 (SB54), which makes California a sanctuary state for undocumented immigrants. The California bill seeks to prohibit state and local law enforcement agencies, including school police and security departments, from using money or personnel to investigate, interrogate, detain, detect, or arrest persons for immigration enforcement purposes. ICE’s press release is a stark response to this bill and should put undocumented communities and employers, alike, on high alert, as ICE intends to increase its worksite and community raids.
While the text of the California bill, also known as the California Values Act, stresses encouraging effective policing, community trust, and an efficient use of resources, ICE views the measure as a complete prohibition of any cooperation and communication with their law enforcement partners in the state. As such, ICE has vowed to ramp up its efforts to remove undocumented immigrants, stating that it “will have no choice but to conduct at-large arrests in local neighborhoods and at worksites, which will inevitably result in additional collateral arrests.” This response heightens the ongoing battle between the state of California and the Trump administration, as the state and federal government find their values and policies at odds.
Because ICE has warned about more regular and sweeping arrests, employers and undocumented immigrants should anticipate more immigration enforcement at worksites. We encourage all of our clients to ensure that they have the most up-to-date records and information for their foreign national employees to ensure that no issues arise, should ICE come knocking. For general guidance on how to deal with ICE, please visit our Immigration Guidance page. We will be adding additional guidance to this page soon.