In line with the current Presidential administration’s crackdown
on illegal immigration, Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) agents
have begun visiting several of the offices of California’s state
Labor Commissioner in an effort to apprehend undocumented workers or obtain
information about claims made by undocumented individuals.
However, Labor Commissioner Julie Su has responded to these incidents with
authority. Last month she issued a directive to all staff members at each
of her 16 offices found throughout the state that they were to refuse
all entry to ICE agents. In the directive, Commissioner Su said to tell
agents “to leave our office, including the waiting room, and inform
the agent(s) that the labor commissioner does not consent to entry or
search of any part of our office."
Commissioner Su believes that allowing ICE agents to freely search the
office and obtain information regarding immigration status would discourage
workers to report violations of workplace laws and not report injuries
that they sustained while on the job. The Labor Commissioner’s office
depends on reports like these to hold employers accountable for their
actions and ensure workers receive fair treatment, both in terms of pay
and in terms of compensation for their losses when their job causes them
to become injured.
In the past, the Labor Commissioner’s office has used a worker’s
information to learn more about their job and ensure their rights as a
worker remain protected. They have not offered immigration information
to federal authorities, particularly for purposes of an immigration crackdown.
And Commissioner Su explains that a crackdown preventing reporting from
these individuals would only result in their being mistreated by employers
who know they would never have their conduct reported to authorities.
Workers Compensation Cases
In a related case from across the country, Florida lawmakers are now reviewing
a law which places undocumented workers who are injured on the job at
risk for deportation. Passed in 2003, the law makes it a crime to file
a workers’ compensation claim using false identification. Using
this law, thousands of workers’ comp claims have been denied and
the injured workers have found authorities showing up at their door soon
after their initial reporting.
While insurance companies allege they are bound by a different law to report
all instances of potential workers’ compensation fraud, there are
those who believe they report these instances to get off the hook for payment.
Lawmakers are now reviewing this provision, as it’s causing thousands
of potential workers’ comp claims each year to go unreported. As
a result, even though the state of Florida does offer workers’ compensation
right to undocumented individuals, few can actually take advantage of
it, and even fewer actually apply due to the potential consequences of
being deported. In these instances, the fraud can be something as simple
as filing for a workers’ comp claim with a false or stolen social
If you or a loved one has been injured on the job, a Glendale workers’
compensation attorney can help you protect your rights, no matter your
immigration status. Call the Law Offices of Wax & Wax today at (818)
846-0608 and ask for a
free consultation. We offer high-quality services and have Spanish speakers on staff!