No Match Rules on Hold

The LA times has reported that  On October 1, 2007, a United States District Judge in Northern California extended for ten days a temporary restraining order prohibiting the enforcement of the "no match" rules.  The rules permit immigration authorities to use mismatched social security numbers to go after employers who may have hired undocumented workers.

The no match rule, which presently is found at 72 Fed. Reg. 45,611, is intended to reduce improper use of falsified social security numbers.   See 8 C.F.R. Part 274a.  The National Immigration Law Center provides an online toolkit on how to deal with the rule, including a link to the rule itself. 

Under the rule, if the social security number on an employee's W-2 form is inconsistent with the records at the Social Security Administration (SSA), the SSA will write a letter to the employer requiring it to fire the employee if the employee's status cannot be verified within 90 days of the notice.  If the employer fails to fire an unverified employee, the employer could be subject to a $10,000 fine, and criminal and civil sanctions. 

The rule includes a safe harbor for employers who make efforts to comply.  An employer may be charged with constructive knowledge that they have hired an illegal worker if they receive a no-match letter.