Immigration Debate: Court Puts "No-Match" Letters on Hold; First Step in Protecting Workers

Yesterday a San Francisco federal judge extended for 10 days a temporary restraining order (TRO) that blocks the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) from using backlogged and error-prone social security records to enforce immigration law. Before October 10, the judge will rule on whether or not to permanently stop the Social Security Administration (SSA) from sending "no match" notices to approximately 140,000 employers across the country.

The new social security "no match" regulations may be "tough" enforcement, but they're not smart enforcement. Sending out "no match" letters based on a backlogged system full of discrepancies will lead to unfair firings of legal workers, wrongful detention, and a chaotic churning of workers across industries.

The Social Security administration's own internal reports suggest that hundreds of thousands of the "no match" letters will be incorrect. That means that thousands of U.S. citizens and legal permanent residents will be forced to run the Social Security Administration's bureaucratic gauntlet in order to keep their jobs. In most cases, employers aren't likely to wait out the red tape to re-verify a worker--employers will fire first and only the most well connected workers will be able to ask questions later.

This unwise, piecemeal approach will lead to chaos--not order--and untold misery for many our nation's hardest, most underpaid workers. If left unchecked, "no match" regulations will push all low-wage workers deeper into the shadows, breed division, and benefit the most unscrupulous, off-the-books employers.

It's time to end this divisive, ill-conceived man-hunt. It does not make this country stronger to round up hardworking men and women who work 14 hour days picking vegetables, mopping floors, and handling meat on a factory line. Our government is wasting precious resources to ravage local economies and spread fear and isolation.

The promise of America used to be that people could come here, work hard and succeed. These hasty attempts to sweep our country of hard working immigrants do not embody the principles this country was founded upon. It's time to stop the indiscriminate round ups and get back to finding solutions that strengthen--rather than divide--our nation.

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