Federal Judge Blocks Implementation of Bush's "No Match" Letters

A federal judge in California issued a nationwide restraining order yesterday against Bush's plan to send "no match" letters to employers that would require them to fire workers whose social security numbers on their W-2 form didn't match the number in the Social Security database, or face big fines and penalties, within 90 days of receiving the letter.

The suit was brought by the AFL-CIO, in response to an August 10 rule announced by Homeland Security Secretary Michael Chertoff.

The unions argued that past experience with no-match letters shows that they are often sent mistakenly because of clerical errors by employers or the government in recording numbers, or because of name changes after a marriage, divorce or other innocent reasons.

The AFL-CIO also said Social Security was never intended to be a means of tracking down illegal immigrants, and is so cumbersome that legal employees will be unable to clear up discrepancies in 90 days.


The unions argued that the 1986 law, which prohibited employers from knowingly employing illegal immigrants, required only a document check for newly hired workers and did not authorize the government to order additional verification after hiring.

Under current rules,

Employers now can satisfy the law if they obtain specified identification documents from newly hired workers. After that, the government notifies employers if the Social Security number on a worker's W-2 tax form doesn't match the number in the Social Security database. That employee may not have earnings credited for Social Security benefits, but no action is taken against the employer.

The Judge told the Government that at the next hearing,

...it would be important to present evidence showing a connection between a no-match letter and "a reasonable inference that the person is here illegally."

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  • Display: Sort:
    AFLCIO? (none / 0) (#1)
    by diogenes on Sat Sep 01, 2007 at 12:05:17 PM EST
    Gee, I thought a union would want to protect its members from being undercut by competition by millions of illegal...uh...undocumented aliens.

    Yes, AFL-CIO (none / 0) (#2)
    by LarryE on Sat Sep 01, 2007 at 11:43:08 PM EST
    Maybe it goes to show that the claim that unions are only concerned with the selfish benefit of their own members and can't be concerned with the interests of workers as a whole is just another canard tossed out by people who really are focused solely on their own selfish benefit.