A federal judge has put the brakes on Department of Homeland Security (DHS) plans to enforce new rules for verifying employees’ eligibility to work in the U.S., issuing a temporary restraining order that stops mailing of “no-match” letters that would have begun today and preventing the rules from taking effect until at least October 1.
U.S. District Court Judge Maxine Chesney issued a temporary restraining order on August 31, 2007, after attorneys for the American Civil Liberties Union, AFL-CIO, National Immigration Law Center and other labor and immigration-rights groups filed a lawsuit in the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of California.
The groups argued that the new DHS rules will lead to widespread discrimination against foreign-born workers — and that many employers will simply fire immigrants rather than follow the new procedures. The lawsuit contends that DHS and the Social Security Administration (SSA) don’t have statutory authority to use Social Security records to enforce immigration laws.
In mid-August, DHS published final regulations providing guidance to employers on how to respond to no-match letters. No-match letters typically come from the SSA, letting employers know that one of their employees has provided a Social Security number that doesn’t match his or her name.
The new rules provide what DHS calls a “safe harbor” for employers — follow the rules and employers could protect themselves from charges that they had knowingly hired illegal immigrants.
Last week's lawsuit requested delaying implementation of the regulations until a federal court can rule on their legality. The restraining order prevents any enforcement before October 1, 2007, when another federal judge is expected to consider a permanent injunction.
Learn how to respond to no-match letters
On October 3, HR Specialist will present a timely audio conference on the new rules and their impact on employers. Hosted by Greg Siskind, one of America’s best-known immigration lawyers, “The New Rules on Hiring: The Legal Way to Handle No-Match Letters and I-9s” will cover specific employer responsibilities, best practices for avoiding hiring illegal immigrants, the three biggest employment-eligibility verification mistakes employers make and how to avoid them. Click here for more information, and here to register.