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Judge stays challenge to new illegal immigrant employment rules pending revision

[JURIST] US District Judge Charles R. Breyer of the Northern District of California Friday stayed [order text, PDF] until March 24 a challenge to 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. Breyer granted a government motion [PDF text] seeking to halt the court proceedings while DHS revises and rewrites the regulations. Breyer granted a preliminary injunction [PDF text; JURIST report] against implementation of the regulations on October 10 after finding 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 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.

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. The ACLU issued a statement [press release, text] Saturday arguing that revised DHS rules which still rely on an allegedly flawed SSA database will pose additional concerns. AP has more. The New York Times has additional coverage.

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