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Greg Siskind on Immigration Law and Policy

SSN NO MATCH RULE'S RELEASE IS IMMINENT

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A few weeks back I mentioned that the proposed no match rule requiring employers to resolve discrepancies between an employee's name and social security number within 60 days would be released any day. And it's now three weeks later and no news. Well, the AP is reporting that the rule is, in fact, about to be released.



A few years ago, the Social Security Administration began sending employers "no match" letters notifying them that employees on their payroll had social security numbers that did not match the names in the system for those numbers. Employers are asked to check to see if the problem is the employer's own mistake or, if not, to get the matter corrected with the employee.



The amount of follow up beyond that has always been a matter of confusion. Do employers have an obligation to do anything beyond notifying the employee? Is an employer deemed to have knowledge of an employee's undocumented status if the employee is the subject of one of these letters? To date, there has been no clear answer on this.



The rule expected to be released would give employers 60 days to clear up the matter and prove the worker's name and number match or be deemed to have knowledge that the employee is out of status. This will likely result in an employee being terminated unless the employer is willing to face prosecution.



Employers who hire people with reasonably correct looking documents have been able to comply with the I-9 rules unless they otherwise had reason to believe an employee was not legally in the US. The new rule would remove that protection and if the Administration is planning on aggressively enforcing the new regulation, the impact on the marketplace could be dramatic.



The rule could also lead to a dramatic spike in identity theft as workers could try and claim an identity that matches a social security number. Identity theft has already been increasing as was evidenced in the recent raids at Swift meat processing plants around the country.  The increase in employers using the Basic Pilot program will also potentially increase the temptation of engaging in identity theft. Some employers will potentially turn to background checking services to try and prevent this.



I have had very mixed feelings about this rule. On the one hand, I would like to be able to give employers some certain answers when asked the question of what is their responsibility when they get a letter like this. Also, I think that if the rule's implementation and other vigorous enforcement efforts result in massive layoffs and economic disruptions that translate to wholesale outsourcing of industries and inflation reminiscent of the 1970s, maybe the public will finally get that the 12 million people illegally residing in the US are not just sitting on their duffs collecting welfare. They're playing a vital role in the economy and their removal will break us.



On the other hand, these are real families who will suffer real hardships if this rule is enforced. These are not folks earning a fat paycheck with lots of money to spare and they have families to feed and rent to pay. They're likely in the US because of desperate financial conditions in their home country and whether you support or oppose their legalization, no people with a sense of decency could be happy about adding to their suffering.



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Comments

  1. Another voice's Avatar
    WOW this could be huge specially if we take in consideration that government agencies make a lot of mistakes. People could get fired or in a lot of trouble due to government employee's mistakes specially because beaurocrats do not act quickly to correct things. The economic impact in many industries could be terrible if these 12 million immigrants are put out of work considering that unemployment rate in the US is at 4.5% which is considered full employment in economic terms.
  2. Brown, Green, Yellow, Black, Orange, Blue's Avatar
    While I support the steps taken to ensure that employers are doing their best not to employ illegals, I must say that this has tragedy written all over it.

    Like the previous post points out, error rates will be high, and considering how difficult it is to get government agencies to correct the rocords, it will be certain doom for the legal immigrant caught in the system. Couple that with the strict visa rules (specifically H1B), people tangled in the error will be forced to leave the country (in as little as 10 days). There is no time to secure another job.

    This law, if implemented, will also bring discrimination to the "colored" community. The "white" person will probably have no problems claiming citizenship, but all the brown, green, yellow, blue, and orange people will automatically be assumed to be illegals. Think of how that would affect your relationship with your employer if indeed that was an error.
  3. Legal and waiting's Avatar
    Please, don't start the whole color thing - it is actually quite hard for a white person who's native language is not English to claim citizenship. Much harder than for a Spanish-speaking person - there is a bunch of US citizens with Spanish as the first language, so it's not an issue at all.

    I bet SSA hates this rule. They are collecting tons and tons of money from people paying on non-existent and no-match numbers. I guess, selling the name/SSN combination will just become more popular among Americans. There are lots of deadbeats out there who want to get their 40 SS credits, and guess what - there will be more people willing to help them.
  4. Ian's Avatar
    The government's crazy if they think the immigration issue will be solved with this rule. Whether they penalize employers or not, it won't change the fact that the labor resource illegals provide is vital to our economy. There simply aren't indigenous people in the work force available to do the work illegals do. If i'm an employer and i'm suddenly fined for having illegal employees, will this magically create a workforce suitable for my company? NO! The result for the economy could be catastophic.
  5. 's Avatar
    La figure humaine, apr s avoir disloqu en cinquante ans...
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