United States: Justice Department Sues to Block California Worksite Enforcement Law and Other Immigration Measures
• The Justice Department has asked a federal court to invalidate AB 450, the Immigrant Worker Protection Act, and two other state immigration laws, arguing that they are preempted by federal law. • Though the California statutes remain in effect, the Justice Department is seeking a preliminary injunction, which, if granted, would suspend the enforcement of AB 450 and related laws while the lawsuit goes forward.
A closer look
In a federal lawsuit filed Tuesday, the Justice Department is seeking a permanent injunction against three California immigration laws:
- AB 450, the Immigrant Worker Protection Act, which prohibits employers from allowing immigration enforcement agents to enter nonpublic areas of a worksite without a judicial warrant or to access employee records without a subpoena or judicial warrant, among other obligations;
- AB 103, which requires the California Attorney General to inspect ICE detention centers and limits the federal government's ability to contract with local agencies to detain noncitizens for purposes of civil immigration custody; and
- SB 54, the California Values Act, which bars local governments from detaining individuals solely to transfer them to ICE custody.
The lawsuit, which asserts that the three state laws are preempted by federal immigration statutes, is part of the Trump Administration’s implementation of a 2017 executive orderaimed at restricting so-called sanctuary jurisdictions.
What the lawsuit means for employers
The lawsuit does not have an immediate impact on enforcement of AB 450 or related laws. Employers remain subject to the worksite obligations of AB 450, but enforcement of the law could be suspended if a federal court grants the Justice Department’s request for a preliminary injunction while the case goes forward.
This alert is for informational purposes only. If you have any questions, please contact the immigration professional with whom you work at Fragomen.