Homeland Security, Senate clash over ‘no-match’ rule

WASHINGTON —As the battle over immigration reform heats up, restaurant association officials say they are hopeful the U.S. Department of Homeland Security will proceed with its recent decision to rescind the controversial Social Security “no-match” rule despite a last-minute effort by the U.S. Senate to block the move.

Meanwhile, DHS said that beginning Sept. 8 all businesses holding federal contracts must confirm their workers’ immigration status through the government’s E-Verify database system, which is expected to impact on-site feeders and others who operate foodservice outlets in federal buildings, national parks and military bases. —As the battle over immigration reform heats up, restaurant association officials say they are hopeful the U.S. Department of Homeland Security will proceed with its recent decision to rescind the controversial Social Security “no-match” rule despite a last-minute effort by the U.S. Senate to block the move.

Restaurant association officials cheered the DHS’s July 8 decision to drop the no-match regulation that requires employers to fire workers who are unable to reconcile discrepancies in their Social Security records. The foodservice industry had opposed the rule since it was introduced in August 2007. —As the battle over immigration reform heats up, restaurant association officials say they are hopeful the U.S. Department of Homeland Security will proceed with its recent decision to rescind the controversial Social Security “no-match” rule despite a last-minute effort by the U.S. Senate to block the move.

On July 9, however, the Senate passed an amendment to the DHS appropriations bill prohibiting funds in the measure from being used to rescind the no-match rule. A National Restaurant Association [3] official said the Senate’s move was political and would not likely reverse DHS’ decision. —As the battle over immigration reform heats up, restaurant association officials say they are hopeful the U.S. Department of Homeland Security will proceed with its recent decision to rescind the controversial Social Security “no-match” rule despite a last-minute effort by the U.S. Senate to block the move.

Brendan Flanagan, director of government relations for the NRA in Washington, D.C., said the amendment, which was proposed by Sen. David Vitter, R-La., only stated that DHS could not use the appropriation funds to rescind the rule. —As the battle over immigration reform heats up, restaurant association officials say they are hopeful the U.S. Department of Homeland Security will proceed with its recent decision to rescind the controversial Social Security “no-match” rule despite a last-minute effort by the U.S. Senate to block the move.

“It did not block the DHS’ decision,” Flanagan said. “It did nothing to alter it.” —As the battle over immigration reform heats up, restaurant association officials say they are hopeful the U.S. Department of Homeland Security will proceed with its recent decision to rescind the controversial Social Security “no-match” rule despite a last-minute effort by the U.S. Senate to block the move.

Prior to the Senate vote, Scott Vinson, vice president of the National Council of Chain Restaurants in Washington, had called the administration’s decision to rescind the no-match rule a “huge victory” for the foodservice industry. —As the battle over immigration reform heats up, restaurant association officials say they are hopeful the U.S. Department of Homeland Security will proceed with its recent decision to rescind the controversial Social Security “no-match” rule despite a last-minute effort by the U.S. Senate to block the move.

Following the vote, however, he expressed frustration, saying: “This doesn’t bode well for immigration reform. It just goes to show that anything even remotely tangential to immigration—and we’re talking about a very poorly thought-out regulation here—is politically radioactive.” —As the battle over immigration reform heats up, restaurant association officials say they are hopeful the U.S. Department of Homeland Security will proceed with its recent decision to rescind the controversial Social Security “no-match” rule despite a last-minute effort by the U.S. Senate to block the move.

The House previously passed its own DHS appropriations bill; the two will now have to be reconciled. —As the battle over immigration reform heats up, restaurant association officials say they are hopeful the U.S. Department of Homeland Security will proceed with its recent decision to rescind the controversial Social Security “no-match” rule despite a last-minute effort by the U.S. Senate to block the move.

The foodservice industry has been fighting the no-match rule since the Bush administration issued it in 2007. In an effort to help identify the estimated 11 million immigrants who are in this country illegally, the federal government had hoped to use no-match letters that routinely had been mailed out by the Social Security Administration. The letters were sent to companies with 10 or more employees when an audit discovered that an employee’s Social Security number did not match a file in the agency’s database. —As the battle over immigration reform heats up, restaurant association officials say they are hopeful the U.S. Department of Homeland Security will proceed with its recent decision to rescind the controversial Social Security “no-match” rule despite a last-minute effort by the U.S. Senate to block the move.

In 2007 the DHS said the government would alter the language of the no-match letters and potentially seek criminal sanctions against employers of illegal immigrants. Under the rule, DHS would be able to threaten employers with fines as high as $10,000 for failure to fire workers who are unable to reconcile Social Security account discrepancies within 90 days. —As the battle over immigration reform heats up, restaurant association officials say they are hopeful the U.S. Department of Homeland Security will proceed with its recent decision to rescind the controversial Social Security “no-match” rule despite a last-minute effort by the U.S. Senate to block the move.

But before the initiative could be enacted, a labor coalition sued the DHS and SSA, resulting in a U.S. District Court judge’s decision to issue a temporary restraining order blocking the SSA from sending out the letters. —As the battle over immigration reform heats up, restaurant association officials say they are hopeful the U.S. Department of Homeland Security will proceed with its recent decision to rescind the controversial Social Security “no-match” rule despite a last-minute effort by the U.S. Senate to block the move.

Soon afterward, a second judge issued a preliminary injunction to extend the barrier against threatening no-match letters indefinitely and directed the DHS to submit a new proposal addressing the court’s questions. At the time, the judge observed the no-match letters would cause “irreparable damage to innocent workers.” —As the battle over immigration reform heats up, restaurant association officials say they are hopeful the U.S. Department of Homeland Security will proceed with its recent decision to rescind the controversial Social Security “no-match” rule despite a last-minute effort by the U.S. Senate to block the move.

The DHS made minor alterations, but the injunction was not dropped. —As the battle over immigration reform heats up, restaurant association officials say they are hopeful the U.S. Department of Homeland Security will proceed with its recent decision to rescind the controversial Social Security “no-match” rule despite a last-minute effort by the U.S. Senate to block the move.

In the meantime, on July 8 the DHS said foodservice operators and other businesses that hold federal contracts would be required to enroll in the government’s E-Verify online program. E-Verify compares information from the Employment Eligibility Verification form, I-9, against government databases to verify workers’ employment eligibility. It is a free Web-based system operated by DHS and SSA. —As the battle over immigration reform heats up, restaurant association officials say they are hopeful the U.S. Department of Homeland Security will proceed with its recent decision to rescind the controversial Social Security “no-match” rule despite a last-minute effort by the U.S. Senate to block the move.

But foodservice association officials had found fault with the E-Verify pilot program, maintaining that the system is flawed and contains inaccurate data. The government “has made improvements over the past year or so in cleaning out databases,” Vinson said, “but it still is not quite ready for prime time.” —As the battle over immigration reform heats up, restaurant association officials say they are hopeful the U.S. Department of Homeland Security will proceed with its recent decision to rescind the controversial Social Security “no-match” rule despite a last-minute effort by the U.S. Senate to block the move.

Some on-site operators have been using the program for several years. “Clients are starting to insist on using the [E-Verify] program,” said Tom Mac Dermott, founder of the Clarion Group, a on-site foodservice consulting firm based in Kingston, N.H. —As the battle over immigration reform heats up, restaurant association officials say they are hopeful the U.S. Department of Homeland Security will proceed with its recent decision to rescind the controversial Social Security “no-match” rule despite a last-minute effort by the U.S. Senate to block the move.

But, Mac Dermott added, because “it is so massive, it has its problems.” —As the battle over immigration reform heats up, restaurant association officials say they are hopeful the U.S. Department of Homeland Security will proceed with its recent decision to rescind the controversial Social Security “no-match” rule despite a last-minute effort by the U.S. Senate to block the move.

“Inevitably there are errors,” he said. “For the past three years clients have more and more been requiring on-site providers to perform background checks on employees and recently have been requiring they do it through E-Verify.” —As the battle over immigration reform heats up, restaurant association officials say they are hopeful the U.S. Department of Homeland Security will proceed with its recent decision to rescind the controversial Social Security “no-match” rule despite a last-minute effort by the U.S. Senate to block the move.

The program has its pluses and minuses, he continued. —As the battle over immigration reform heats up, restaurant association officials say they are hopeful the U.S. Department of Homeland Security will proceed with its recent decision to rescind the controversial Social Security “no-match” rule despite a last-minute effort by the U.S. Senate to block the move.

“If they miss an illegal alien, the employer [who uses E-Verify] has a defense,” Mac Dermott said. “[But] if it misidentifies a legal employee, then that person is out of a job and is driven into the underground economy in order to survive. What can that person do if he or she can’t get a legitimate job because E-Verify says they are illegal? Where do you go?” —As the battle over immigration reform heats up, restaurant association officials say they are hopeful the U.S. Department of Homeland Security will proceed with its recent decision to rescind the controversial Social Security “no-match” rule despite a last-minute effort by the U.S. Senate to block the move.

The DHS’ announcements come a week after the U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement, or ICE, launched a new audit initiative by issuing Notices of Inspection to 652 businesses nationwide. The notices warn business owners that ICE will be inspecting their hiring records to determine whether they are complying with employment eligibility verification laws and regulations. It was not known whether any restaurateurs were among those who received notices. —As the battle over immigration reform heats up, restaurant association officials say they are hopeful the U.S. Department of Homeland Security will proceed with its recent decision to rescind the controversial Social Security “no-match” rule despite a last-minute effort by the U.S. Senate to block the move.

Separately, ICE officials announced a $40,000 fine settlement reached with the Krispy Kreme Doughnut Corp. for earlier violations of immigration laws. ICE conducted an I-9 inspection of Krispy Kreme in 2007, which revealed the company had employed dozens of illegal aliens at one of its doughnut factories in Cincinnati.— [email protected] [4] —As the battle over immigration reform heats up, restaurant association officials say they are hopeful the U.S. Department of Homeland Security will proceed with its recent decision to rescind the controversial Social Security “no-match” rule despite a last-minute effort by the U.S. Senate to block the move.