California Attorney General Xavier Becerra on Thursday warned employers in the state that they will face legal consequences if they voluntarily provide information on their employees' immigration statuses to federal authorities.
"It's important, given these rumors that are out there, to let people know—more specifically today, employers—that if they voluntarily start giving up information about their employees or access to their employees in ways that contradict our new California laws, they subject themselves to actions by my office," Becerra said at a news conference, according to the Sacramento Bee. "We will prosecute those who violate the law."
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Becerra said the state Department of Justice and the state Labor Commissioner's Office plan to issue formal guidance to all California employers about their responsibilities under a new California law that went into effect on Jan. 1
The Immigrant Worker Protection Act seeks to prevent all workers, including illegal immigrants, from being detained at their workplaces, and could slap employers with fines up to $10,000 if they assist federal immigration authorities crackdown on illegal immigration.
Becerra's comments followed reports that immigration agents plan to target northern California communities for deportations with workplace raids after California became a "sanctuary state," which restricted local law enforcement agencies from fully cooperating with federal immigration authorities.
"California better hold tight," Immigration and Customs Enforcement's acting director, Thomas Homan, told Fox News earlier this month. "If the politicians in California don't want to protect their communities, then ICE will."
Under the Immigrant Worker Protection Act, employers are required to ask immigration agents for a warrant before granting access to a worksite in California. Employers are also required to notify their workers before a federal audit of employee records, and they are not allowed to voluntarily share confidential employee information without a subpoena.