California continues to lead the way in the fight against Attorney General Jeff Sessions’ harsh crackdown on undocumented immigration.

In July, California state officials sent a memo to staff at Labor Commission offices, instructing them to refuse entry to Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) workers who show up at offices to make arrests—unless they have a warrant. The Los Angeles Times reports:

Staff members should ask federal immigration agents “to leave our office, including the waiting room, and inform the agent[s] that the labor commissioner does not consent to entry or search of any part of our office,” the memo said.

If agents refuse to leave, the memo tells employees, demand a search warrant signed by a judge before allowing them onto the premises.

The Times goes on to quote Julie Su, the state’s labor commissioner: “There is no doubt that allowing ICE to freely enter our office would have a substantial chilling effect on the willingness of workers to report violations and participate in our fight against wage theft.”

Since November 2016, ICE agents have shown up at least twice at California Labor Commission offices to seek out undocumented immigrants who filed complaints against their employers for labor law violations. The Los Angeles Times says that, unsurprisingly, “ICE also contacted a state official and asked for details about an ongoing investigation into labor violations at several construction sites across Los Angeles.”

The Labor Commission has 18 offices around California. The offices seek to provide restitution for workers should they be paid less than minimum wage or are punished for complaining about work conditions.

Su tells the Times that about 35,000 claims for back pay are filed each year, largely involving industries that are reliant on immigrants, like clothing manufacturing, car washing and trucking. Essentially, the commission works to ensure that employers are held accountable to follow labor laws, regardless of how vulnerable their employees might be to deportation or other governmental actions.

California law prohibits employers from seeking retaliation by calling immigration on employees, but Su said that is exactly what happened when the ICE came to the commission offices: “The ICE agents who came to the Van Nuys and Santa Ana offices asked for the specific workers involved in the proceedings by name, and arrived within a half hour of when the meetings with employers were supposed to begin.”

Su added that she suspects that the employers being accused of underpaying employees tipped off federal immigration agents about the status of the workers. The timing of wage hearings isn’t public, and generally, the worker and the employer are the only ones who know that information outside of the agency.

“We should not enable unscrupulous employers who use immigration status as a vulnerability to retaliate unlawfully against a worker who is seeking our protection,” Su said.

ICE’s appearances during labor proceedings is deeply troubling. In the past year, ICE officers have also made arrests outside a Pasadena courthouse and half-a-mile away from a Los Angeles school.

Su says that 58 workers have reported immigration-related threats from bosses to her office so far this year, compared with 14 in all of 2016.

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