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 security number.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!