Blog Posts

California Can Revive the Immigrant Worker Protection Act by Challenging the Authority of U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services’ “FDNS” Enforcement Officers

08/07/2018

Seyfarth Synopsis: In passing AB 450, the Immigrant Worker Protection Act (IWPA), California lawmakers tried to make it more difficult for federal immigration enforcement agents from accessing nonpublic areas of employer worksites and private employee records. The U.S. Justice Department filed a federal lawsuit against California attacking the IWPA as an unconstitutional interference with federal power over immigration. DOJ persuaded the Court to issue a preliminary injunction last month against parts of the IWPA that bar employers from voluntarily providing immigration enforcement agents with access to nonpublic worksites and employee records unless federal authorities present a judicial warrant (to access nonpublic worksites) or an administrative or judicial subpoena (to access employee records). Only one federal immigration agency routinely dispenses with the warrant or subpoena process. The Fraud Detection and National Security Directorate (FDNS) – a unit of U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) – regularly shows up unannounced at employer facilities in California and elsewhere. Its agents present only a business card and demand the type of access prohibited under the IWPA.

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