Injunction Continues in SSA “No Match Letter” Litigation
October 15, 2007

On October 10, 2007, U.S District Judge Charles R. Breyer of the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of California has granted a motion for a preliminary injunction, thereby continuing the restraining order against the Department of Homeland Security (“DHS”) from sending out approximately 140,000 no-match letters to employers affecting roughly 8 million employees. The injunction will be in effect until the case goes to trial unless an appeal by the DHS is filed and subsequently granted.

As previously reported in September, the AFL-CIO, the ACLU, and the National Immigration Law Center, filed a federal lawsuit against the DHS in order to prevent the agency from sending out the no-match letters in accordance with a newly finalized rule. No-match letters are issued when the information (namely a name and Social Security Number) of an employee is submitted to the Social Security Administration (“SSA”), as required by law, does not match the SSA database. Once the no-match letter is issued, the finalized law would require that the employer fire any employee that is unable to clear-up the discrepancy within 90 days. If the employer refuses to fire the employee, the employer could face federal prosecution.

On August 31, 2007, U.S. District Judge Maxine Chesney first granted a restraining order blocking the enforcement of the new rule saying that serious questions have been raised regarding the DHS and SSA’s authority to enforce the rule along with the probability of legally authorized workers being harmed due to errors within the Social Security Administrations database. The current preliminary injunction continues this restraining order until the lawsuit goes to trial, which will likely take place in the coming year.

Copyright © 2007-2008, By Law Offices of Richard Hanus, Chicago, Illinois