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State Officials Seek to Stop ICE Practice of Targeting Workers Who Report Labor Abuses

Federal immigration agents have shown up twice at California labor dispute proceedings to apprehend undocumented workers, in what state officials believe may be cases of employer retaliation.

Immigration and Customs Enforcement agents take a Mexican national into custody in Downey in April. (Credit: Brian van der Brug / Los Angeles Times)

The Labor Commissioner’s Office, the state’s labor enforcement arm, said that since November U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement agents showed up at locations in Van Nuys and Santa Ana looking for workers who had brought claims against their employers.

In January, ICE also contacted a state official and asked for details about an ongoing investigation into labor violations at several construction sites across Los Angeles, according to Julie Su, the state’s labor commissioner and the agency’s head.

State officials sent a memo in July instructing staff members to refuse entry to ICE agents who visit its offices to apprehend immigrants who are in the country without authorization.