Immigrant rights groups look to educate workplaces on raids
LOS ANGELES — In a time where immigration raids have left immigrant communities on edge, a new initiative is looking to help educate one of the most raid-prone places…the job site.
As immigration raids and deportations continue, civil rights lawyers and communities have been on high alert — and one area that is often targeted by officers, the workplace.
The National Employment Law Project and the National Immigration Law Center have partnered with Asian American groups to educate employers on their rights during an immigration raid.
“Small businesses may be the epicenter for a number of raids in the upcoming months, in the upcoming weeks, so we here have prioritized small businesses to make sure that they are trained so small businesses, employers could work with employees and know their legal rights,” said Stuart Kwoh, Executive Director of AAAJ-LA.
“It’s very important for employers to understand what their rights and responsibilities are as well as how they can protect their workers,” said Nayantara Mehta from NELP.
One of their tools is this recently published guide, which gives employers checklists and tips on how to prepare for a potential immigration raid — including briefing workers on how to answer officers to having legal help on standby.
NELP and Asian Americans Advancing Justice will hold a series of multilingual workshops for employers, while they don’t have one yet, they plan on creating a Filipino version of the guide as well.
“We want to encourage employers to be proactive, to plan ahead before the worst thing happens before an immigration enforcement action happens, so employers can really understand what it looks like and what they can do and what steps they can take.”
“Inform employers on what conditions will they open the door and under what conditions would they even cooperate and you’d be surprised that employers don’t just have to open the door, there’s much more to be done to know your legal rights,” said Kwoh.
Under immigration enforcement procedures, agents often look for undocumented immigrants at their homes before going to their workplaces.
Employers who have been found to knowingly hire undocumented workers may also be subject to penalties including fines.