Friday, November 30, 2007

DHS Says No Go on "No Match" Letters

The Department of Homeland Security (DHS) has opted to forego using the Social Security Administration's database to implement its "no match" rule. The DHS decision comes as the result of a lawsuit filed by organizations including the AFL-CIO, American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU), and the National Immigration Law Center (NILC) to stop DHS from sending no match letters to the nation's employers.

DHS asked a federal court to place the lawsuit on hold until March 2008 in order to rewrite the rule and conduct a small business survey. DHS plans to re-craft a new rule for public dissemination in late December, the NY Times reports.

"No matter how DHS alters its rule, any use of a social security mismatch to assume immigration status will trap workers in a bureaucratic nightmare and punish them unfairly," said Marielena Hincapie, staff attorney and Director of Programs for NILC.

The lawsuit contends that use of the Social Security Administration's (SSA) defective database would prompt the unfair dismissal of employees and the discrimination or racial profiling of many workers. SSA's Inspector General has consistently found significant clerical and bureaucratic discrepancies in its database including the records of United States citizens. In October, U.S. District Judge Charles R. Breyer's preliminary order halted DHS from enforcing the rule, which would affect an estimated eight million workers.

AFSC strongly urges DHS and the Bush Administration to pursue constructive worksite policies that enable employers to assist their workers in the adjustment of their immigration status, while they also continue to contribute to the nation's economic vitality.