The City of San Jose is currently considering a law which would prohibit the city from actively assisting United States Immigration and Customs Enforcement (“ICE”). Under the proposed “Shield Our City” ordinance, the San Jose Police Department would be prohibited from entering into a formal agreement with ICE to provide information or assist in raids. Additionally, ICE would be required to seek permission from the City Attorney’s office before carrying out raids in San Jose’s designated “safe zones,” such as schools, hospitals, courthouses and places of worship. Republican Councilman Lan Diep, who proposed the ordinance, stated that the goal of the law is to control the manner in which these raids take place rather than stopping the Federal Government from enforcing federal law.
As we previously reported here, California is also currently considering legislation addressing ICE activity, including requiring employers to ask for warrants before granting ICE access to nonpublic areas of work sites and preventing employers from giving ICE confidential employee information.
It should be noted that even if San Jose’s ordinance is passed, it is not clear if it will be implemented, as there are real concerns as to whether or not San Jose has the authority to enforce such a law in defiance of the Federal Government. Additionally, even if it is enforceable, there is a significant risk that enforcement could result in the loss of federal funds.
COUNSEL TO MANAGEMENT:
Although San Jose is just one city, it is possible that other California cities will soon look to pass their own ordinances aimed at protecting immigrant workers at the expense of cooperating with ICE. Unfortunately, due to the ever changing legal landscape, employers must pay close attention to the interplay between local, state and federal laws, and employers facing ICE activity at their place of business are encouraged to contact The Saqui Law Group for guidance.