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Uncovered Julie Su Memo Reveals DOL Secretary Nominee’s Effort to Hinder ICE Investigations

WASHINGTON – U.S. Senator Bill Cassidy, M.D. (R-LA), ranking member of the Senate Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions Committee, today released a statement following the California Labor & Workforce Development Agency (LWDA) fulfilling the Senator’s request to provide a reported 2017 memo from then-California State Labor Commissioner Julie Su in which she directed her staff in the Division of Labor Standards Enforcement (DLSE) to obstruct U.S. Immigration Customs and Enforcement (ICE) officials who visited state labor offices. This is following Su repeatedly ignoring and refusing requests to provide the memo as part of the Senate review process of her nomination to be Secretary of the U.S. Department of Labor (DOL).

During Julie Su’s nomination hearing, U.S. Senator Tommy Tuberville (R-AL) asked her about a memorandum she issued in July of 2017 as the California State Labor Commissioner in which she reportedly directed her staff in the DLSE to refuse entry to ICE agents who visited state labor offices in California. In her testimony, Julie Su stated that she did not have a copy of the memo nor could she provide a copy of the memo. When Tuberville submitted a Question for the Record (QFR) asking for the memo after the hearing, she failed to provide the document. Cassidy and Tuberville then requested the memo directly from California LWDA.

“If you’ve subverted implementation of federal law in the past, that is of great concern if you now aspire to head a federal department. It should be disqualifying. You don’t get to pick and choose the laws you implement and enforce,” said Dr. Cassidy.

Julie Su was insistent that federal immigration officials were not welcome to enforce federal law on DLSE property. The memo directed DLSE employees to inform ICE agents that Julie Su herself, “does not consent to entry or search of any part of our office.” 

Alarmingly, Julie Su’s DLSE instructed staff on how they can hide illegal aliens subject to ICE investigation without technically violating DLSE policy:

“For example, under these protocols (as well as current practice), staff may of course escort or show a worker to any part of our office (including behind closed doors), for the purpose of allowing the worker to obtain information about labor laws, to participate in one of our proceedings, or to be interviewed by a Deputy or Attorney. These protocols also make clear that staff should not give certain information (as noted above) to an agent.

Part 7 of the policy told DLSE employees to inform agents enforcing federal immigration law that “it is [Julie Su’s] general policy not to permit such interference [i.e. federal immigration enforcement] with our state law enforcement duties,” despite the Constitution specifying that federal law trumps state law.

While Julie Su obstructed federal law enforcement, she also put in place policies to tip off illegal immigrants that ICE was looking for them.  Part 11 of the policy instructed DLSE employees to inform “the worker who is the subject of the agent’s inquiry” that “a federal immigration agent has shown up looking for the worker…If the worker does not appear for the scheduled proceeding, the Deputy should make reasonable efforts to call the worker within 24 hours of the incident to inform the worker.” To assist subjects of a federal immigration investigation in evading federal law enforcement, the policy goes on in Part 15 to instruct DLSE employees to inform them that they may “appear remotely for any future proceedings” and “Deputies should not close the worker’s case if the worker does not show up for a scheduled proceeding…The worker should be allowed to phone in or make a video appearance from an alternate location that is not disclosed to the employer.”

Instead of aiding law enforcement, Julie Su’s DLSE required staff to help illegal aliens file retaliation claims against their employers rather than comply with immigration laws. Part 12 of the policy “Assisting with Retaliation Complaint; CIU Referral” instructs DLSE staff to target the employer of the subject of the federal immigration investigation regardless of whether the individual did “not report a previous threat made by the employer [to call ICE].”

Click here to view the full memo.



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