Government Rescinds "No Match" Rule Harmful To Legal Workers

July 8, 2009 12:00 am

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WASHINGTON – Department of Homeland Security (DHS) Secretary Janet Napolitano announced today that DHS would rescind the Social Security Administration (SSA) “no match” rule. The rule would have unlawfully used the error-ridden SSA database for immigration enforcement by requiring employers to fire workers who are unable to resolve discrepancies in their Social Security records. The 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. The rule has never been implemented.

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 the Department of Homeland Security, 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 extremely pleased that DHS has abandoned its effort to turn the Social Security Administration ‘no match’ letters into an immigration enforcement tool, an approach that would have threatened the livelihoods of American citizens and legal workers. Rather than penalizing American workers for errors in the government’s own databases, the administration should focus on enforcing the workplace rights of all workers and put an end to worker exploitation and discrimination.”

John Sweeney, President of the AFL-CIO:
“We congratulate Secretary Napolitano for her decision to rescind the fatally-flawed ‘no match’ rule, 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. Comprehensive immigration reform is the only way to stop employers from turning to a ready pool of exploitable workers to drive down wages, benefits, health and safety protections and other workplace standards for all workers.”

Marielena Hincapié, Executive Director of NILC:
“We are relieved to hear that the rights of millions of workers will not be violated as a result of the error-ridden Social Security Administration database. The ‘no match’ rule had the potential to exacerbate workplace discrimination for millions of employees. We hope the administration will take the next step and terminate the ‘no match’ letter program.”

In addition to the AFL-CIO, other plaintiffs in the lawsuit include the Central Labor Council of Alameda County and 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, Mónica M. Ramírez, 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:

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