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DHS rescinds controversial 'no-match' employment rule

[JURIST] The US Deparment of Homeland Security (DHS) on Wednesday rescinded [rule, PDF] a rule that would have required employers to fire workers whose information did not match Social Security Administration (SSA) [official website] records. The American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU), National Immigration Law Center (NILC) and the American Federation of Labor and Congress of Industrial Organizations (AFL-CIO) [advocacy websites] filed suit [case materials] against DHS in 2007 challenging the "no-match" rule [NILC backgrounder, PDF], concerned that inaccurate records and clerical errors would threaten legal US workers. Calling the issuance of the final rule a "victory for workers," AFL-CIO President Richard Trumka said [press release]:

The "no match" program was a flawed and ineffective immigration enforcement tool that would have hurt U.S. citizens and other authorized workers. Employers have been able to game the immigration system for too long. We need comprehensive immigration reform that respects workers' rights, protects our borders and holds employers accountable.

NILC Executive Director Marielena Hincapie [official profile] urged the SSA [press release, PDF] to "send an unequivocal message" that Social Security number mismatches are not grounds for dismissal by "terminating the 'no match' letter program" altogether. A preliminary injunction [text, PDF] issued by the US District Court for the Northern District of California [official website] in October 2007 prevented the rule from ever being put into effect.

Despite the repeal, the Obama administration has expressed support [press release] for the E-Verify system [official website], a largely voluntary system that also relies on matching employee information with the SSA. In June 2008, then-president George W. Bush issued an executive order [JURIST report] requiring that all federal contractors and subcontractors participate in E-Verify. Earlier that month, a federal court in Oklahoma granted a preliminary injunction blocking the enforcement of employer-related provisions in a state immigration law [JURIST report] that required employers to verify the eligibility of their employers using the E-Verify system. In March 2008, the governor of Rhode Island also issued an executive order [JURIST report] requiring state agencies and companies doing business with the state to use the E-Verify system to verify that all employees are legal residents. In February 2008, a federal appeals court refused to grant an emergency injunction blocking enforcement of an Arizona law [JURIST report] that requires employers to check the legal status of new hires using the E-Verify system.

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