Government Terminates 'No Match' Rule Harmful to Legal Workers

For Immediate Release

Contact: 

Maria Archuleta, ACLU, (212) 519-7808 or 549-2666; media@aclu.org
Adela de la Torre, NILC, (213) 674- 2832; delatorre@nilc.org
Devon Whitham, AFL-CIO, (202) 637-5018

Government Terminates 'No Match' Rule Harmful to Legal Workers

WASHINGTON - The
Department of Homeland Security (DHS) today formally issued a final
rule rescinding the Social Security "no match" rule. The "no match"
rule, which was never implemented, would have forced employers to fire
workers based on discrepancies in their Social Security records. DHS
first announced its plan to rescind the rule in July, and with today's
publication of a final rule in the Federal Register, the rescission
will go into effect in 30 days. 

A civil rights coalition challenging
the policy charged that the rule would put the livelihoods of
authorized workers - including U.S. citizens - at risk and have a
devastating impact on the already suffering U.S. economy. A federal
court blocked the "no match" rule in October 2007, after the American
Civil Liberties Union, American Federation of Labor and Congress of
Industrial Organizations (AFL-CIO) and National Immigration Law Center
(NILC) filed a lawsuit against DHS, charging that enforcement of the
rule would put authorized workers at risk of losing their jobs and
would cause discrimination against workers who look or sound "foreign."

The statements below can be attributed to the following participants in the lawsuit:

Jennifer Chang Newell, staff attorney with the ACLU Immigrants' Rights Project:

"We're very pleased that DHS has
abandoned its effort to use the Social Security Administration 'no
match' letters for immigration enforcement, which would have caused
tens of thousands of U.S. citizens and other authorized workers to lose
their jobs - an unacceptable result, particularly in these tough
economic times. We hope the administration will now focus on enforcing
the workplace rights of all workers and put an end to worker
exploitation and discrimination."

Richard Trumka, President of the AFL-CIO:

"This is a real victory for workers.
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."
  
Marielena Hincapié, Executive Director of NILC:

"At a time of historically high
unemployment rates, the government's decision to rescind the 'no match'
rule comes not a moment too soon. By utilizing the error-ridden Social
Security Administration database for verification of eligibility to
work, the rule would have threatened the economic livelihood of
millions of Americans. We urge the Obama administration to go one step
further in promoting economic security by terminating the 'no match'
letter program. This will send an unequivocal message to employers that
they should not take adverse employment action against workers because
of a Social Security number mismatch."

Plaintiffs in the lawsuit, AFL-CIO v. Chertoff,
include the AFL-CIO, the Central Labor Council of Alameda County, the
San Francisco Labor Council and the San Francisco Building and
Construction Trades Council.

In addition to Newell and Hincapié,
lawyers on the case include Scott Kronland, Stephen Berzon, Jonathan
Weissglass, Linda Lye and Danielle Leonard of Altshuler Berzon LLP;
Jonathan Hiatt and James Coppess of the AFL-CIO; Lucas Guttentag,
Harini P. Raghupathi, Caroline P. Cincotta and Omar Jadwat of the ACLU
Immigrants' Rights Project; Alan Schlosser and Julia Mass of the ACLU
of Northern California; Linton Joaquin and Nora A. Preciado of NILC;
and David Rosenfeld and Manjari Chawla of Weinberg, Roger and
Rosenfeld.

Legal documents and other information about the lawsuit can be found at: www.aclu.org/nomatch

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The American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) conserves America's original civic values working in courts, legislatures and communities to defend and preserve the individual rights and liberties guaranteed to every person in the United States by the Constitution and the Bill of Rights.

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