As many of you know, vineyard owners and managers are suffering from a severe shortage of labor. The need to rebuild after the wildfires is going to seriously exacerbate this. On top of this, the current administration has been more vigorous than past administrations in its enforcement of immigration laws and seems poised to focus on California in the future, with Thomas Homan, acting director of U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement stating that California is “about to see a lot more special agents, a lot more deportation officers,” and that the agency plans to “significantly increase” its enforcement in the state.
This raises the specter that, for many vineyard owners and managers, the generalized threat of a lack of labor could be coupled with a more concrete threat of direct disruptions to your labor force. In addition, employers now need to thread the narrowing line between complying with California laws that limit employer cooperation with federal authorities and complying with federal regulations that limit which individuals they can legally employ. Following are six actions you can take to reduce the likelihood that your employees are deported.
Use these two links to download the best available information on how to be prepared for the possibility of an ICE raid:
NILC Employer Guide
ILRC Employer Guide
One of the most important takeaways is that you understand the difference between an administrative warrant and a judicial warrant. You should also understand that you have greater rights against government intrusion in private areas. You should consider posting signs that indicate that your vineyard sites are private areas and that you do not allow unauthorized access. This MAY allow you to restrict ICE access to only situations where a proper, JUDICIAL warrant is presented.
With the new laws that went into effect in California this year, employers' legal duties have changed and the two PDFs above are now a bit out of date. Employers should consider arranging for a training workshop for themselves and their employees. If you are interested in doing so, contact me and I can put you in touch with someone who can help or you can reach out to the North Bay Organizing Project.
Hand Out Red Cards and Yellow Cards
No, I’m not suggesting you referee your employees’ soccer games. I’m suggesting you hand them red cards that explain how to best handle any interactions with immigration authorities and yellow cards that provide a phone number to have legal observers sent to witness the interaction and assist in the aftermath of such an interaction. Those actions can significantly reduce the likelihood that undocumented employees are deported as the result of immigration authorities’ operations.
Red cards provide employees with an easy way to exercise their rights in an interaction with ICE agents. You can order cards at https://www.redcardorders.com or, if you're local, just contact me and I will have someone deliver the cards to you. You can also download the files necessary to print your own at https://www.ilrc.org/red-cards.
Yellow cards include additional instructions, along with a number to call to alert the North Bay Rapid Response network, who will then send legal observers to witness the interaction. The phone number is 707-800-4544. You can reach out to the North Bay Organizing Project to get these cards or, again, if you're local, you can contact me.
Display These Posters at your Workplace and/or Provide them to Employees to take Home
You can have these posters printed out yourself. You can also have employees visit this blog and download them directly to their phones.
Host a Know Your Rights Workshop at Your Workplace
Consider having trained individuals educate you and your employees on their rights. If this is something you are interested in, please contact me and I can put you in touch with resources that can help.
Know Where Your Employees Can Go for Immigration Defense Assistance
This website contains an extensive list of resources: Immigration Defense Legal Resources. Again, you can also reach out to me directly.