California Attorney General Xavier Becerra warned businesses on Thursday to keep quiet when talking to federal immigration authorities or face legal ramifications.
Becerra, a Democrat, told California employers that if they assist federal immigration authorities in widespread sweeps they will be in violation of the state’s new law, the Immigrant Worker Protection Act, which aims to protect workers regardless of immigration status.
“It’s important, given these rumors that are out there, to let people know — more specifically today, employers — that if they voluntarily start giving up information about their employees or access to their employees in ways that contradict our new California laws, they subject themselves to actions by my office,” Becerra said during a news conference, according to the Sacramento Bee.
“We will prosecute those who violate the law,” he continued.
Under the new law, which seeks to prevent workers from being detained at their workplaces, businesses could face up to a $10,000 fine if they share information on their employees with federal authorities or grant them access to their workers.
The new “sanctuary” law was signed by Gov. Jerry Brown last year and took effect on Jan. 1.
In response to the controversial law, Immigration and Customs Enforcement Director Thomas Homan told Californians to “hold on tight” while vowing to “protect their communities.”