Last August, the AFL-CIO, ACLU and National Immigration Law Center (NILC) teamed together in a lawsuit against the Department of Homeland Security's (DHS) No-Match policy; a policy that attempts to turn the Social Security Administration into an immigration law enforcement agency. This rule would threaten the jobs of millions of Americans who are lawfully allowed to work in the U.S. We were successful in our effort to stop this rule from taking effect on its original start date, September 4, 2007. In an attempt to weasel its way out of this lawsuit, DHS said it would "revise" the rule to better protect American workers; the new revised rule was just issued last Friday, and what do you know? It was essentially the same bad rule.
Jenny Chang, co-counsel in the case, blogged in The Hill about the new rule, and how it still doesn't adequately protect American workers:
The reissued rule fails to substantively change the original rule that was blocked last October when a federal court found that it would cause irreparable harm to both innocent American workers and employers. Instead, it unsuccessfully attempts to explain away the inherent problems caused by relying on the error-ridden Social Security Administration (SSA) database to verify legal authorization to work.
...Rather than penalizing American workers for typographical errors in the SSA's own database, the Administration should work to enforce existing laws protecting all workers against discrimination and exploitation. Enforcing protections for all workers will reduce the incentives for unscrupulous employers to evade the immigration laws."
The New York Times agreed in an op-ed entitled "A Foolish Immigration Purge," published today. The Times writes:
Leave it to the Bush administration to throw thousands of law-abiding American workers and companies off a cliff in perilous economic times.
That would be the effect of its decision to press ahead with a bad idea: to force businesses to fire employees whose names don't match the Social Security database. The purge is part of a campaign - along with scattershot workplace raids and the partial border fence - to make a show of tackling the broken immigration system.
...The Social Security Administration was set up to administer benefits, not to enforce immigration laws. There are many illegal immigrants who use fake IDs, but the sheer abundance of errors - the result of name changes, misspellings and other mix-ups - preclude their use for an immigration crackdown. Native-born workers will pay the price for these mistakes, but the foreign born also will suffer, because they are especially at risk of errors from inconsistent spellings, mistranslations and other language issues."
You can learn more about this case, AFL-CIO v. Chertoff, at www.aclu.org/nomatch.