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Like Putting Lipstick on Frankenstein

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November 26, 2007

We were all at home, some of us enjoying Thanksgiving leftovers, when the government’s attorneys quietly filed a motion to put a hold on our lawsuit against the Department of Homeland Security’s No-Match rule. The government has all but admitted the current rule breaks the law; they say they’ll get it right when they reissue the rule in March, but we highly doubt it.

We doubt it because Homeland Security is still trying to use the Social Security Administration’s database as a tool for immigration enforcement. The problem is that the no-match rule will end up ensnaring millions of workers who are fully authorized to work in the U.S. The SSA’s own inspector general found that more than 70 percent of the discrepancies in the SSA database involve U.S.-born citizens. That means that Homeland Security’s plan is threatening a whopping 12.7 million Americans’ ability to get and keep their jobs. As Lucas Guttentag, director of the ACLU’s Immigrants’ Rights Project, told the New York Times, the government’s attempt to rewrite this wrongheaded rule is “like putting lipstick on Frankenstein.”

Jennifer Chang, one of the ACLU staff attorneys working on this case, spelled out just how wrong and misguided this rule is in a September blog post. We’ll keep you posted on developments in the case.