U.S. Senators Tommy Tuberville and Bill Cassidy announced the discovery of a memorandum that exposes an effort by Julie Su, President Joe Biden’s nominee to be labor secretary, to obstruct immigration law enforcement.
Tuberville serves on the Senate Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions (HELP) Committee, while Cassidy is the Ranking Member.
Tuberville asked Su during her confirmation hearings about public reports indicating that while chief of California’s Division of Labor Standards Enforcement (DLSE), Su had ordered DLSE employees to obstruct requests from ICE. Su said that she did not have access to the California memo and did not recall the contents of the memo.
The memo was provided by the California Labor and Workforce Development Agency (LWDA) following Senator Tuberville’s request. The memo showed that while she was the California State Labor Commissioner, Su directed her staff to obstruct U.S. Immigration Customs and Enforcement (ICE) officials who visited state labor offices.
“We now have the proof that Julie Su actively thwarted federal law enforcement from doing its job,” said Sen. Tuberville. “That might be popular in left-wing California, but she is too radical for America. We can’t have a labor secretary who puts the wants of illegal immigrants ahead of the needs of the American people.”
Tuberville had asked Su about the memo she issued in July 2017. In her testimony, Julie Su admitted the memo’s existence but stated she did not have access to it. When Senator Tuberville submitted a Question for the Record (QFR) asking for a copy of the memo after the hearing, Su failed to provide the document. Tuberville and Cassidy then requested the memo directly from California LWDA, leading to its revelation this week.
Tuberville said that the memo reveals that Julie Su instructed staff on how to hide illegal aliens from ICE:
“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 LWDA 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.
Tuberville claims that the evidence shows that 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 LWDA 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 LWDA 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 LWDA 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 LWDA 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].”
The GOP Senators wrote in their request. “In response to her questions for the record, and in response to Senator Tuberville requesting the production of this memorandum, Julie Su stated that she ‘does not have access to this reported memo and do[es]not recall its precise contents. Therefore, pursuant to our constitutional responsibilities, we request that your office produce a copy of the 2017 memorandum issued by Julie Su to the Committee by May 8, 2023.”
Su was recommended for confirmation along a very narrow party-line committee vote. How these revelations will affect her confirmation vote in the full Senate is still not known. Presently Su is serving as the acting Labor Secretary pending action by the Senate.