Federal agents a week ago ordered dozens of Northern California businesses to prove that their employees are authorized to work in the U.S., which is intensifying the already existing tensions between the state and federal officials over immigration policies.
James Schwab, a spokesman with Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) stated that Employers at 77 businesses were given a three day period to submit documentary evidence and records that show their employees are in compliance with federal law.
The sweep is considered to be a part of a crackdown that the federal authorities is focusing on to protect the jobs for U.S. citizens and "eliminating unfair competitive advantages for companies that hire an illegal workforce."
But the move marks the latest instance of state and federal authorities clashing over California's newly minted sanctuary laws.
No one was arrested during the operation, which was carried out Monday through Wednesday last week.
Mr. Schwab informed that employers who knowingly hired unauthorized workers could face criminal charges or fines. He also said that the workers who are found to be in the country illegally during the investigations will be subject to arrest and deportation from the country.
It seems that the white house administration is still strictly following its stance on cracking down illegal immigration. It certainly looks like a step against the recent warning issued by the states AG Mr. Becerra to all the employers reminding them about the employer protection act and the penalties they would face on failure to obey the law.
Just two weeks ago, state Atty. Gen. Xavier Becerra warned employers that he is prepared to slap them with fines of up to $10,000 if they violate a new state law that bars them from giving information on employees to federal authorities.
Becerra said that under the law, businesses are prohibited from voluntarily allowing immigration officers to access or obtain employee records without a court order or subpoena.
The ICE agents did not identify the businesses, but they informed that these businesses represent a range of industries and include chains as well as mom-and-pops. Businesses in San Francisco, San Jose, Sacramento and other cities were served with the audit notices.
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