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Federal judge blocks new rules making it harder to hire illegal immigrants

[JURIST] A California-based federal judge issued a temporary restraining order Friday blocking the application of new US Department of Homeland Security (DHS) [official website] rules [PDF text] designed to make it harder for illegal immigrants to obtain US employment. Under the get-tough rules, announced [JURIST report; DHS transcript] in August and slated to take have taken effect September 10, employers who receive notices from the Social Security Administration [official website] informing them of non-matching records between an employee's name and social security number (SSN) would have to resolve any discrepancy within 90 days, dismiss the employee or face up to $10,000 in fines for knowingly hiring illegal immigrants. US unions and the ACLU sought to bar enforcement of the rules earlier this week, citing errors in the matching database and the danger of legally-employed persons losing their jobs as a result. Immigrant advocacy grounds have also urged caution, expressing concern about a piecemeal administrative control strategy [EWIC press release, PDF] short of comprehensive immigration reform, which has not been approved by Congress.

US District Judge Maxine M. Chesney said the lawsuit highlighted the fact that there was "serious question" about whether DHS had overreached itself in making the rules, and directed the SSA not to send out a mailing to some 140,000 employers advising them there were discrepancies in their particular employment records. A hearing on the matter has been set for October 1. The New York Times has more.

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