September 6, 2017


Immigrant farmworkers in danger of being deported, California lawmaker says

By Angela Hart

A day after the Trump administration announced it would end an Obama-era program shielding “Dreamers” from deportation, Assemblyman David Chiu, D-San Francisco, is pressuring state lawmakers to help immigrant laborers he says also face “increasing danger.”

Assembly Bill 450, the “Immigrant Worker Protection Act,” would bar immigration officials from conducting workplace raids without a warrant and prevent employers from disclosing employees’ privacy information, such as a social security number or their immigration status, without an order from the courts.

“In an environment of division and fear, California must continue to defend its workers, to guard its values and to ensure that its laws protect all of our residents,” Chiu said in a statement last week. “AB 450 declares California’s determination to protect our economy and the people who are working hard to contribute to our communities and raise their families in dignity. At the same time, the bill offers employers clarity about what to do when ICE agents target their places of business with indiscriminate raids.”

Chiu pointed to the immigration crackdown by Immigration and Customs Enforcement since President Donald Trump took office, and voiced concerns that “widely anticipated” workplace raids are next.

 A rally is set for 11 a.m. at the state Capitol to draw attention to Chiu’s bill. He will be among the speakers, along with immigrant agricultural workers. Others include Alma Hernandez, executive director of the Service Employees International Union in California; Daniel Weiser of Weiser Family Farms, which grows fruit and vegetables in the Central Valley; and Amelia Morán Ceja, president of Ceja Vineyards in Napa and Sonoma counties.

Workers are expected to deliver produce to lawmakers and encourage them to support the legislation.