Michael Lodge - listen to my PodCast
Lodge & Co. www.lodge-co.com
Offices: Burbank, CA & Greenville, SC
The California Attorney General made this statement yesterday, "We will prosecute’ employers who help immigration sweeps". Which means that California businesses who are required to have their employees fill out a Federal form known as a I-9 and provide to collect documents to legally show that the employee has the right to work in the United States, the AG will prosecute businesses who show these documents to ICE if they show up at our door. The AG has put California businesses in legal trouble with the feds if we do not comply with federal inspections and then with the State of California if we do. Every business in California and across the nation has to have a form I-9 by federal law on each employee or contractor.
The Department of Homeland Security describes the I-9 as follows:
"Form I-9 is used for verifying the identity and employment authorization of individuals hired for employment in the United States. All U.S. employers must ensure proper completion of Form I-9 for each individual they hire for employment in the United States. This includes citizens and non-citizens. Both employees and employers (or authorized representatives of the employer) must complete the form. On the form, an employee must attest to his or her employment authorization. The employee must also present his or her employer with acceptable documents evidencing identity and employment authorization. The employer must examine the employment eligibility and identity document(s) an employee presents to determine whether the document(s) reasonably appear to be genuine and to relate to the employee and record the document information on the Form I-9. The list of acceptable documents can be found on the last page of the form. Employers must retain Form I-9 for a designated period and make it available for inspection by authorized government officers. NOTE: State agencies may use Form I-9. Also, some agricultural recruiters and referrers for a fee may be required to use Form I-9." READ RULES OF HS
When ICE conducts a sweep, as the AG calls it, they can come into your business (no matter how big or small) and ask for the I-9 and all the documents that support the I-9. If you do not have those documents the Federal government can take swift legal action against you. And it could become a criminal matter. Just to hire a criminal attorney on corporate matters, the retainer can start at about $34,000. How many small businesses can afford that lump sum retainer fee? Not many and probably hardly any small business can.
Now the State of California comes along and creates a law that makes the state a "Sanctuary State". The AG then says if you comply with the Federal Government on a sweep of your business that he will prosecute you. So you face two things, criminal prosecution by the Feds for not complying and if you do comply criminal prosecution by the state of California for complying with the Feds. This puts business in a very difficult position. We are required to obey the laws, but which law outweighs the other?
In my own case I feel that I must comply with the Federal laws on working with Homeland Security if they decide to sweep my company. They have set out requirements of me as an employer that has legal consequences if I do not comply. The State of California I feel has a constitutional issue and is in violation of the federal laws by tell me, as a business owner, not to comply with the Federal government. The State of California Attorney General has lost it legally and is trying to force my business to be a criminal by complying with the Federal government requirements.
It is very important that the United States Department or Justice step in and protect Americans and business in California from an out of control State of California. I believe in states rights but not when it conflicts with the Federal Government and the Constitution of the United States. We have a problem here and it has to be resolved. The California Attorney General is wrong and has put California businesses in legal jeopardy.