California Farmers Worry Sanctuary Laws Increase ICE Raids

California plow (David McNew / Getty)
David McNew / Getty
Newport Beach, CA

With the State of California and its three largest cities arrogantly declaring themselves sanctuaries from federal law enforcement, Central Valley agricultural communities worry that the state will provoke a retaliatory increase in federal immigration raids.

Breitbart reported that Governor Jerry Brown responded to a lawsuit filed Tuesday by the U.S. Department of Justice against California’s Immigrant Worker Protection Act (HB-450), the Inspection and Review of Facilities Housing Federal Detainees law (AB 103), and the California Values Act (SB-54) for usurping the authority of the U.S. government under the Supremacy Clause “is basically going to war against the state of California.”

Under State of California laws, employers are forbidden from voluntarily allowing federal immigration agents to access, view or obtain any employee records. To grant federal authorities access, employers must require a subpoena, or a warrant signed by a judge.

Manuel Cunha, president of Fresno’s Nisei Farmers League, told the Sacramento Bee that the confrontation over state’s right to ignore federal laws is creating havoc for agriculture employers, as dozens of workers now fear returning to work with ICE agents dramatically increasing audits of employee’ immigration status.

Nisei Farmers support the U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) division locating and deporting illegal aliens with criminal records, but the federal officials seem to be so antagonized by state and city defiance of federal authority that ICE is dramatically expanding Employment Eligibility Verification I-9 audits.

Farm employers who now inadvertently fail to confirm employee identity and authorization to work are concerned they will be subjected to severe civil and criminal penalties.

Cunha emphasized that the clear majority of Central Valley undocumented farm workers are good people that have been with the same employer for years.

Central Valley farmers are especially concerned that the confrontation between the state and the federal government will ramp up during the peak of the summer harvest. Turmoil could result in not enough farm workers causing fruit and produce to rot in the fields.

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