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Greg Siskind on Immigration Law and Policy

BREAKING NEWS: JUDGE ISSUES ORDER HALTING IMPLEMENTATION OF NO MATCH RULE

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Wow, that was fast! Yesterday I wrote about the lawsuit filed by the AFL-CIO to stop the implementation of the no match rule. Today, a court issued an order siding with America's largest labor union. The National Immigration Law Center's press release is included below.









Judge Issues Order After Lawsuit Is
Filed by AFL-CIO, ACLU, and
National Immigration Law
Center


 


FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE


August 31, 2007


 


CONTACT:  Ana Avendaño, AFL-CIO, (202) 431-9743; aavendan@aflcio.org   


Maria Archuleta, ACLU, (917) 892-9180; media@aclu.org


Stella Richardson, ACLU-NC, (415) 845-3042; srichardson@aclunc.org


Marielena Hincapié, NILC,  (415) 845-3403; hincapie@nilc.org


 


SAN FRANCISCO - A federal judge today issued an order
temporarily blocking the government from implementing a new Department of
Homeland Security (DHS) rule that would cause U.S. citizens and other authorized
workers to lose their jobs, and which would illegally use error-prone social
security records as a tool for immigration enforcement. The judge's order also
stops the Social Security Administration (SSA) from beginning to send notices on
Tuesday to approximately 140,000 employers across the country notifying them of
the new rule, which would impact approximately eight million workers.


 


The order comes as a result of a lawsuit filed on Wednesday by the
American Federation of Labor and Congress of Industrial Organizations (AFL-CIO),
the American Civil Liberties Union, the National Immigration Law Center (NILC)
and the Central Labor Council of Alameda County along with other local labor
movements. A hearing on the groups' request to permanently bar the
implementation of the DHS rule is scheduled for October 1 before U.S. District
Court Judge Charles Breyer.


 


"We are very pleased that the judge recognized the need to halt the
implementation of this ill-advised DHS rule," said John Sweeney, President of
the AFL-CIO. "Employers have historically used SSA 'no-match' letters to exploit
workers and this rule would only give them a stronger pretext for doing more of
the same."


 


In the lawsuit, the groups charge that the misguided rule violates
the law and workers' rights and imposes burdensome obligations on employers who
receive SSA "no-match" letters that inform them of alleged discrepancies between
employee records and the SSA database.


 


U.S. District Judge Maxine M. Chesney found that the groups "raised
serious questions as to whether the new Department of Homeland Security rule is
inconsistent with statute and beyond the statutory authority of the Department
of Homeland Security and the Social Security Administration."


 


"The court found the balance of hardships tips sharply in favor of
staying the rule while it is being challenged," said Scott A. Kronland of Altshuler Berzon LLP, who argued at today's hearing.
"We are confident we will prevail when the court hears the case on the
merits."


 


Currently, employers who receive "no-match" letters stating that
their employees' identification documents don't match SSA records are not
required to take any action. The new DHS rule would impose liability on
employers based on failure to respond to an SSA "no-match" letter, even though
SSA errors are caused by many innocent factors such as typographical errors and
name changes due to marriage or divorce, and the use of multiple surnames, which
is common in many parts of the world. According to the Office of the Inspector
General in SSA, 12.7 million of the 17.8 million discrepancies in SSA's database
- more than 70% - belong to native-born U.S. citizens.  Under the DHS rule,
employers might be required to fire employees whose erroneous SSA records are
not fixed within 90 days after the "no-match" letter is sent. The DHS rule would
threaten jobs of U.S. citizens and other legally authorized workers simply
because of errors in the government's inaccurate social security earnings
database.


 


"This is a crucial and significant first step in challenging this
rule, which would be a bureaucratic and costly nightmare for employers and many
U.S. citizens and other legally authorized workers," said Lucas Guttantag,
Director of the ACLU's Immigrants' Rights Project.


 


"Today's ruling takes us one step closer to an eventual finding
that the DHS rule is unlawful. This is a great Labor Day victory for the
millions of workers who would have been affected by no-match notice letters
being sent out next week," said Marielena Hincapié, Staff Attorney and Director
of Programs at NILC.


 


Today's order was handed down in the United States District Court
for the Northern District of California.


 


In addition to the AFL-CIO, which is represented by the law firm of
Altshuler Berzon, LLP, other parties bringing the lawsuit include the Central
Labor Council of Alameda County, represented by the ACLU, the ACLU of Northern
California, and NILC, as well as the San Francisco Labor Council and the San
Francisco Building and Construction Trades Council, represented by Weinberg,
Roger and Rosenfeld.


 


In addition to Guttentag and Hincapié, lawyers on the case include
Stephen Berzon, Scott Kronland, Jonathan Weissglass, Linda Lye and Danielle
Leonard of Altshuler, Berzon; Jonathan Hiatt, James Copess and Ana Avendaño of
the AFL-CIO; Jennifer Chang, M?nica M. Ramírez, and Omar Jadwat of the ACLU
Immigrants' Rights Project; Alan Schlosser and Julia Mass of the ACLU of
Northern California; Linton Joaquin and Monica Guizar of NILC; and David
Rosenfeld and Manjari Chawla of Weinberg, Roger and Rosenfeld. 


 


The complaint can be found at: http://www.nilc.org/immsemplymnt/SSA_Related_Info/suit_complaint.pdf


 


The order issued today can be found at:         


http://www.nilc.org/immsemplymnt/SSA_Related_Info/Chesney_Order_TRO.pdf

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Comments

  1. chris's Avatar
    Wow.
  2. alex's Avatar
    This is pretty bad. Now there will be no enforcement and no reason to debate CIR. Maybe they were right when they said that CIR won't be touched until 2013.
  3. USC's Avatar
    "This is pretty bad."

    Eh? This is a great piece of news for the pros. Are you aware that Congresswoman Lofgren's assistant who is Korean American was the victim of a SS no match snafu last year? It took many months for SS to straighten out the matter despite the victim being a Congressional employee. What hope do you think regular people have?
  4. Greg Siskind's Avatar
    I agree wholeheartedly that the issue is what protections are in place for Americans. The no match rule may sound great to the average anti, but I wonder how they'll feel when they are the victim of a false positive hit (and that's apparently about 5%) and then you have a Social Security Administration so overloaded with false positives that they end up taking months to resolve a problem - well after a person's career is potentially devastated. I don't necessarily have a problem with a no match system if it is coupled with the resources necessary to assure Americans that they will not be victimized. Of course, I stand by my broader view that we should pair a crackdown like this with a legalization and guest worker program in order to avoid wreaking havoc on the economy.
  5. Gegenwarst's Avatar
    A chain reaction was avoided "temporarily:"
    A packing company employs 250 workers, 200 of them do packing duties (approximately 180 are undocumented) while the remaining 50 do clerical work (they are US citizens and legal residents). One day the owner receives a letter from Social Security stating that 180 SSNs do not match their records, hence the employer is forced to fire these hard working people; however, it is turning a real headache for this company to fill that empty jobs: potential employees decline to work for a low salary (instead, they prefer to keep their welfare benefits) and worst of all, orders start to experience serious delays and clients are getting furious for not receiving their orders on time. Later on, this company is operating at loss -zero revenues. The owner is forced to call for an urgent meeting with the remaining workforce, announcing that there will be a massive layoff due to the critical financial situation of the business. Finally, this guy decides to close the packing company in order to avoid further losses. Subsequently, the state will stop collecting taxes from this company and the former employees and instead, it must pay unemployment insurance to those who have been laid off, and the tale keeps going and going...
    How many "undocumented" people live in the United States?
    How many businesses in the United States employ these people?

    That's what I called "Mojarra Power." I wonder why so much drama with making the life of "illegal" immigrants in this country so difficult; in the end, the brute and ignorant American populace who are against any form of immigration reform NEED these people to do the jobs they hate to perform. It is my hope that the North American Union takes place sooner rather than later, hence there will be no more unnecessary discussions about this topic and immigration lawyers will be able to bring their professional services at reasonable rates. Enjoy the article posted below:

    Mexico trucks to roll on U.S. highways
    Sat Sep 1, 2007 11:44AM EDT
    http://www.reuters.com/article/politicsNews/idUSN0129981820070901
    By John Crawley

    WASHINGTON (Reuters) - The Bush administration can proceed with a plan to open the U.S. border to long haul Mexican trucks as early as next week after an appeals court rejected a bid by labor, consumer and environmental interests to block the initiative.

    The 9th Circuit Court of Appeals in San Francisco late on Friday denied an emergency petition sought by the Teamsters union, the Sierra Club and consumer group Public Citizen to halt the start of a one-year pilot program that was approved by Congress after years of legal and political wrangling.

    The Transportation Department welcomed the decision and said in a statement that allowing more direct shipments from Mexico will benefit U.S. consumers.

    The 1994 North American Free Trade Agreement approved broader access for ground shipments from both countries but the Clinton administration never complied with the trucking provision. A special tribunal ordered the Bush administration to do so in 2001.

    "This is the wrong decision for working men and women," Jim Hoffa, president of the Teamsters, said in a statement after the court ruling. "We believe this program clearly breaks the law." The Teamsters represents truckers that would be affected by the change.

    The emergency stay was sought on grounds the administration's pilot program had not satisfied the U.S. Congress' requirements on safety and other issues. But the appeals court ruled otherwise.

    SAFETY ASPECTS

    The administration plans to start the program on September 6. Transportation Department officials hope to receive final clearance early next week from the department's inspector general's office, which is reviewing its safety aspects, and finalize details with Mexican authorities.

    The Mexican government must grant reciprocal access to U.S. trucks under NAFTA. That provision is not expected to be a problem, regulators said.

    Mexican trucks operating in the United States have for years been restricted to U.S. points near certain large border crossings where their goods are transferred to trucks owned by U.S. firms.

    Under the pilot program, Mexican long haul trucking companies that have met safety, licensing, and other U.S. requirements will be allowed to operate their rigs throughout the country. Proponents say this will reduce costs and speed up shipments.

    Trucking regulators said in a court filing the goal is to gradually accommodate 100 Mexican trucking companies by the end of the pilot program, or roughly 540 large trucks.

    But opponents said those figures do not reflect the number of companies that could seek access to U.S. roads if the pilot is successful, which they said raises safety concerns.

    "This (pilot) program is basically a show trial. They haven't provided notice up front about who will participate. You just don't know what the program will look like," said Bonnie Robin-Vergeer, attorney for Public Citizen.

    Public Citizen and the Teamsters still plan to proceed with a lawsuit they filed in federal court, challenging the Mexican truck program on broader grounds. That case will not likely be decided until next year.

    Trucks from Canada have no operating restrictions in the United States.

    (Reporting by John Crawley)

    ? Reuters 2006. All rights reserved. Republication or redistribution of Reuters content, including by caching, framing or similar means, is expressly prohibited without the prior written consent of Reuters. Reuters and the Reuters sphere logo are registered trademarks and trademarks of the Reuters group of companies around the world.
    Reuters journalists are subject to the Reuters Editorial Handbook which requires fair presentation and disclosure of relevant interests.
  6. TX's Avatar
    Wow......this is getting interesting now, was'nt expecting this at all. It seems like the judges seem to be on the sensible side, i.e, side of immigrants........first with citing local anti laws unconstitutional and now this. I have to say though this will infact make the Lou Dobbs and Hannity's of America more angry, this is going to be fun.
  7. USC's Avatar
    I am beginning to think that Zoe reads Greg's blog:

    http://lofgren.house.gov/PRArticle.aspx?NewsID=1826

    "Simply re-branding the Basic Pilot electronic employment verification program as "E-Verify" will not solve the high error rate that has plagued this program since its inception a decade ago. It is unclear how the Bush Administration plans to avoid the potentially massive lay-offs of American citizens likely to result from the expanded program and defective databases."

    Uh oh.....This is the part I like:

    "We shall see whether a dysfunctional agency that deports an American citizen and cannot keep count of the number of visas issued can effectively implement these proposals."

    She sounds mad!! Could she be talking about INS' recent antics?!! LOL!!!

    This one is especially for antis:

    http://lofgren.house.gov/PRArticle.aspx?NewsID=1764


  8. Anonymou's Avatar
    Let's not pretend like Greg cares about the millions of workers in this country.

    I happen to agree with the AFL-CIO on this position, but Greg caring about workers? Hah!
  9. A Reader's Avatar
    We, the American citizens, have a bad luck with "liberal" judges at 9th Circus. First, they refused to stop, even temporarily, opening borders to paractically unlimited number of trucks from Mexico so that they can carry their cargo, be it drugs, illegal aliens, or terrorosts, into the U.S. without inspection. Apparently, the grave risks for this nation that come with such an opening did not create emergency on part of the 9th Circus. But when it comes to immigration law enforcement so much needed and overdue, the 9th Circus thinks that the anti-enforcement agenda is so urgent that it put a hold on the enforcement.

    I hope one day the judges that have betrayed us will answer in front of a jury for driving nails into America's coffin. And I will not shed even one tear on their behalf when they do.
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