[JURIST] US District Court Judge Charles R. Breyer of the Northern District of California granted a preliminary injunction [PDF text] Wednesday blocking the implementation of new Department of Homeland Security (DHS) [official website] regulations [PDF text] intended to make it more difficult for illegal immigrants to obtain US employment. The ruling follows Breyer's extension of a temporary restraining order [JURIST report] blocking the implementation of the new rules last week. The stricter rules, announced [JURIST report; DHS transcript] in August and originally slated to take effect in September, require employers who receive notices from the Social Security Administration (SSA) [official website] informing them of non-matching records between an employee's name and social security number to resolve any discrepancy within 90 days, dismiss the employee, or face up to $10,000 in fines for knowingly hiring illegal immigrants. In Wednesday's ruling, Breyer found that there was an immediate threat of harm to the plaintiffs, a coalition of labor and business groups, that would result from the application of the new rules, which warranted blocking DHS from implementing the rules until the case has been decided.
The lawsuit [ACLU materials] challenging the new regulations, brought by employers, unions, and the American Civil Liberties Union [advocacy website], argues that errors in the SSA's database may cause legally employed persons to lose their jobs and that the rules impose a substantial burden on employers. In August, US District Judge Maxine M. Chesney said that the lawsuit highlighted the fact that there was "serious question" about whether DHS overreached in making the rules, and directed the SSA not to send out a mailing to approximately 140,000 employers advising them that there were discrepancies in their particular employment records. Reuters has more. The Los Angeles Times has additional coverage.