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Feds reissue 'no-match' rule

October 24 2008

The Department of Homeland Security reissued its Social Security "no-match" rule for employers Thursday, and said it will seek court approval for the requirement. A federal judge had ordered a preliminary injunction against the rule in October 2007 to prevent it from taking effect.

Opponents argued the rule relies on an error-prone Social Security Administration database and would result in legal workers being fired and discrimination against those who look or sound foreign. Those that sued to stop the rule include the American Civil Liberties Union, the AFL-CIO and the Chamber of Commerce of the United States of America.

The no-match rule requires employers to take a series of steps if the Social Security Administration notifies them of workers whose Social Security numbers don't match their names on file. The steps could include firing workers who can't resolve the match within 90 days. If employers don't take action, the Department of Homeland Security would consider them to have knowledge that they hired illegal workers if they are later discovered in an on-site investigation.

Social Security numbers that don't match may be the result of a clerical error or name change, but they might also come from a fake number given by an undocumented worker.

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