Amid rumors of ICE raids, state AG Becerra reminds public of 'sanctuary state' laws

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Amid rumors of planned major immigration raids, the California attorney general reminded the public about new "sanctuary state" laws. (KABC)

As rumors persist of a major immigration raid expected in Northern California, the state attorney general reminded the public that new state laws limit the cooperation involving California law enforcement and private employers with federal immigration agents.

Two "sanctuary state" laws signed last year by Gov. Jerry Brown limit the level of cooperation by local and state law enforcement with federal immigration authorities, as well as voluntary cooperation by California employers.

One of the laws, AB 450, prohibits employers from providing voluntary access to immigration enforcement agents to enter nonpublic areas of a business or review employee records unless they have the appropriate warrant or court order.

The bill provides for fines of $2,000 to $5,000 for a first offense and $5,000 to $10,000 for later violations.

Attorney General Xavier Becerra cautioned business owners to know the law - which took effect this month - before immigration agents sweep in.

"If you're a business owner you have now certain rights and certain responsibilities when it comes to the people who work for you and giving access to federal immigration enforcement authorities to enter your premises and review both information documents and the individuals who work for you," Becerra said. "So know your rights and know your responsibilities."

Another law limits the information and cooperation that local and state law enforcement can provide to federal immigration agents.

The San Francisco Chronicle has reported that U.S. Immigration & Customs Enforcement is planning to arrest up to 1,500 undocumented individuals in the Bay Area.

The agency has not commented on the rumor and Becerra said he does not have any indication on whether it is true.

"We will, as always, work with our federal partners in every respect to go after drug dealers, human traffickers, potential terrorists," Becerra said. "We're not in the business of deportation. We're in the business of public safety."

The laws were a reaction to Trump administration policies taking a harder line on immigration violations.

ICE Acting Director Thomas Homan has repeatedly lambasted California and Brown, a Democrat, over the new state law that strictly limits the cooperation of local law enforcement with federal immigration authorities when they are booked into jail for other reasons.

A day after the law took effect in California, he said ICE will "vastly increase our enforcement footprint in the state of California."

Trump and other administration officials have singled out San Francisco for criticism, repeatedly raising the 2015 fatal shooting of Kate Steinle by Mexican man who had been deported five times and was recently acquitted of murder.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

Related Topics:
politicsimmigrationICEsanctuary citiesjerry brownCalifornia
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