‘No-match’ hiatus offers some relief as DHS vows to enforce documentation law

‘No-match’ hiatus offers some relief as DHS vows to enforce documentation law

WASHINGTON —The Social Security Administration’s decision to suspend the issuance of “no-match” letters to employers until early 2008 will give foodservice operators a temporary break from a practice that recently has grown controversial but long has proved problematic.

A federal judge last month prohibited the Department of Homeland Security from including in the letters language that threatened employers with fines as high as $10,000 for failure to fire workers who couldn’t reconcile SSA account discrepancies within 90 days of notification. Soon afterwards, SSA officials determined that there was insufficient time left in 2007 for the agency to rewrite the letters and businesses to rectify inconsistencies, said SSA spokesman Mark Hinkle. —The Social Security Administration’s decision to suspend the issuance of “no-match” letters to employers until early 2008 will give foodservice operators a temporary break from a practice that recently has grown controversial but long has proved problematic.

At the same time, federal authorities—intent on improving national security and stemming illegal immigration—said they would step up enforcement of an 11-year-old law that limits the number of documents an employer can accept as proof of identity and authorization to work. —The Social Security Administration’s decision to suspend the issuance of “no-match” letters to employers until early 2008 will give foodservice operators a temporary break from a practice that recently has grown controversial but long has proved problematic.

The initiative is based on a law enacted in 1996 by Congress to help control illegal immigration. However, the required changes had not been made to the I-9 Employment Eligibility Verification Form until now. —The Social Security Administration’s decision to suspend the issuance of “no-match” letters to employers until early 2008 will give foodservice operators a temporary break from a practice that recently has grown controversial but long has proved problematic.

Foodservice industry officials say the I-9 changes are likely to have minimal impact on operators, and they are generally upbeat about the no-match-letter hiatus, which means a few months of freedom from receiving notices that historically have scared off employees or led to wrongful terminations. —The Social Security Administration’s decision to suspend the issuance of “no-match” letters to employers until early 2008 will give foodservice operators a temporary break from a practice that recently has grown controversial but long has proved problematic.

It’s “good news,” said Scott Vinson, vice president of the National Council of Chain Restaurants [3]. “It will be a relief to many employers and employees.” —The Social Security Administration’s decision to suspend the issuance of “no-match” letters to employers until early 2008 will give foodservice operators a temporary break from a practice that recently has grown controversial but long has proved problematic.

Laura Reiff, a partner at the Washington, D.C.-area law firm of Greenberg Traurig and the co-chair of the Essential Worker Immigration Coalition, called it “a victory.” —The Social Security Administration’s decision to suspend the issuance of “no-match” letters to employers until early 2008 will give foodservice operators a temporary break from a practice that recently has grown controversial but long has proved problematic.

“Not having any no-match letters is the best solution,” Reiff said. “The letters themselves are confusing. People receive them and panic and maybe do things that are not required—like terminating people with the proper documents.” —The Social Security Administration’s decision to suspend the issuance of “no-match” letters to employers until early 2008 will give foodservice operators a temporary break from a practice that recently has grown controversial but long has proved problematic.

John Gay, senior vice president of government affairs and public policy for the National Restaurant Association [4], said the SSA’s decision provided a temporary breather for some employers. —The Social Security Administration’s decision to suspend the issuance of “no-match” letters to employers until early 2008 will give foodservice operators a temporary break from a practice that recently has grown controversial but long has proved problematic.

“There are times when [employers] get letters and let their workers know that there’s a discrepancy,” he said, “and then the worker doesn’t show up the next day. So, to that extent, it’s a benefit. [But] the letters are going out again in four or five months, so it’s not a permanent relief.” —The Social Security Administration’s decision to suspend the issuance of “no-match” letters to employers until early 2008 will give foodservice operators a temporary break from a practice that recently has grown controversial but long has proved problematic.

Nor is it certain at this time what form the letters themselves will take. The Bush administration had announced in August that the SSA would alter the language of its no-match letters and potentially seek criminal sanctions against employers of the nation’s estimated 8 million illegal workers. In addition, it sought to levy fines as high as $10,000 per infraction against violators. —The Social Security Administration’s decision to suspend the issuance of “no-match” letters to employers until early 2008 will give foodservice operators a temporary break from a practice that recently has grown controversial but long has proved problematic.

Under those Department of Homeland Security rules, receipt of a no-match letter would be viewed as evidence that an employer had “constructive knowledge” that an immigration violation was occurring. Employers were to be given 90 days to correct the discrepancy, and 140,000 letters to businesses with at least 10 workers who had SSA account discrepancies were to have been mailed Sept. 14. —The Social Security Administration’s decision to suspend the issuance of “no-match” letters to employers until early 2008 will give foodservice operators a temporary break from a practice that recently has grown controversial but long has proved problematic.

However, a labor coalition sued Homeland Security and the SSA. On Aug. 31, U.S. District [5] Judge Maxine Chesney in San Francisco issued a temporary restraining order that blocked the SSA from sending the letters. On Oct. 10 U.S. District Judge Charles Breyer issued a preliminary injunction to extend the barrier against threatening no-match letters indefinitely. —The Social Security Administration’s decision to suspend the issuance of “no-match” letters to employers until early 2008 will give foodservice operators a temporary break from a practice that recently has grown controversial but long has proved problematic.

The court held that 90 days was not enough time for discrepancy resolution, and said evidence that the SSA database was error-ridden made implementation of the sanctions wrong in any case and might cause employers to fire legally employed workers. —The Social Security Administration’s decision to suspend the issuance of “no-match” letters to employers until early 2008 will give foodservice operators a temporary break from a practice that recently has grown controversial but long has proved problematic.

Homeland Security said it would challenge the ruling or attempt to gain authority to implement a revised no-match rule. —The Social Security Administration’s decision to suspend the issuance of “no-match” letters to employers until early 2008 will give foodservice operators a temporary break from a practice that recently has grown controversial but long has proved problematic.

Though the SSA was prohibited from sending no-match letters indicating potential criminal liability for employers, the agency retained the authority to mail its standard requests that businesses help correct discrepancies between account names and numbers they submitted and those already in the SSA’s database. —The Social Security Administration’s decision to suspend the issuance of “no-match” letters to employers until early 2008 will give foodservice operators a temporary break from a practice that recently has grown controversial but long has proved problematic.

However, SSA spokesman Hinkle said there was not enough time left in the year to revise the letter and give employers enough time to correct the data. He said that while the SSA is monitoring the lawsuit’s progress, the current plan for 2008 is to issue the type of no-match letters that had been sent in the past. —The Social Security Administration’s decision to suspend the issuance of “no-match” letters to employers until early 2008 will give foodservice operators a temporary break from a practice that recently has grown controversial but long has proved problematic.

The SSA has been issuing no-match letters since 1994, and last year 138,000 of the letters were sent. The mailings involve as many as 9 million employees each year who are believed to have provided incorrect Social Security information. —The Social Security Administration’s decision to suspend the issuance of “no-match” letters to employers until early 2008 will give foodservice operators a temporary break from a practice that recently has grown controversial but long has proved problematic.

The decision to modify the list of documents that can be accepted to verify a worker’s identity or work authorization is expected to have less effect than the deferral of no-match mailings. —The Social Security Administration’s decision to suspend the issuance of “no-match” letters to employers until early 2008 will give foodservice operators a temporary break from a practice that recently has grown controversial but long has proved problematic.

“Substantively, it’s no big deal,” Reiff said. “They shouldn’t have any significant impact.” —The Social Security Administration’s decision to suspend the issuance of “no-match” letters to employers until early 2008 will give foodservice operators a temporary break from a practice that recently has grown controversial but long has proved problematic.

According to the Illegal Immigration Reform and Immigrant Responsibility Act of 1996, five documents were removed from “List A” of the 2007 I-9 form. The amended I-9 states that employers can no longer accept from job candidates a Certificate of U.S. citizenship, Form N-560 or N-561; Certificate of Naturalization, Form N-550 or N-570; alien-registration receipt cards, Form I-151; unexpired re-entry permit, Form I-327; and Unexpired Refugee Travel Document, Form I-571. —The Social Security Administration’s decision to suspend the issuance of “no-match” letters to employers until early 2008 will give foodservice operators a temporary break from a practice that recently has grown controversial but long has proved problematic.

Authorities said the five documents were disallowed because they were easily falsified. —The Social Security Administration’s decision to suspend the issuance of “no-match” letters to employers until early 2008 will give foodservice operators a temporary break from a practice that recently has grown controversial but long has proved problematic.

The new I-9 form states that employers can accept a U.S. passport; Permanent Resident Card or Alien Registration Receipt Card, Form I-551; an unexpired foreign passport with a temporary I-551 stamp; an unexpired Employment Authorization Document containing a photo, Form I-766, I-688, I-688A or I-688B; or an unexpired foreign passport with an unexpired “Arrival-Departure” record, Form I-94. —The Social Security Administration’s decision to suspend the issuance of “no-match” letters to employers until early 2008 will give foodservice operators a temporary break from a practice that recently has grown controversial but long has proved problematic.

The revised list of authorized documents can be used to verify new hires and to reverify current workers, according to the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services. However, USCIS says that employers are not required to fill out new I-9 forms for existing employees. —The Social Security Administration’s decision to suspend the issuance of “no-match” letters to employers until early 2008 will give foodservice operators a temporary break from a practice that recently has grown controversial but long has proved problematic.

The USCIS states that completed I-9 forms are to held by employers as a hard copy or in an electronic version for three years after the worker’s date of hire or for one year after termination, whichever comes later. —The Social Security Administration’s decision to suspend the issuance of “no-match” letters to employers until early 2008 will give foodservice operators a temporary break from a practice that recently has grown controversial but long has proved problematic.

The changes made to the I-9 form affect only List A of acceptable documents. New employees still may prove their identity and employment eligibility by providing credentials from two other documents included in lists B and C of the I-9 form. —The Social Security Administration’s decision to suspend the issuance of “no-match” letters to employers until early 2008 will give foodservice operators a temporary break from a practice that recently has grown controversial but long has proved problematic.

The enforcement of the new rules is part of the federal government’s drive to step up national security and crack down on illegal immigration. —The Social Security Administration’s decision to suspend the issuance of “no-match” letters to employers until early 2008 will give foodservice operators a temporary break from a practice that recently has grown controversial but long has proved problematic.

The government said employers would have a one-month grace period before being subject to penalties for violating the law. —The Social Security Administration’s decision to suspend the issuance of “no-match” letters to employers until early 2008 will give foodservice operators a temporary break from a practice that recently has grown controversial but long has proved problematic.