Chamber Applauds Court Ruling in DHS “Social Security No-Match” Regulation

WASHINGTON, D.C.–The U.S. Chamber of Commerce applauded today’s ruling by the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of California to prevent the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) from issuing the so-called ‘Social Security No-Match" letters

pending a final judgment on the merits.

"Today, the Court reaffirmed its concern about the government’s authority to act and its failure to adequately consider the costs it imposes on small businesses" said Robin Conrad, executive vice president for the Chamber’s National Litigation Center.

"When DHS initiated the rule, it explained that the regulatory flexibility analysis was not necessary because the rule didn’t mandate any new burdens on the employer and didn’t impose any additional costs on the employer. However, because the failure to comply with the rule subjects employers to the threat of civil and criminal liability, the rule essentially mandates costly compliance with a new 90-day time frame for resolving mismatches."

The U.S. Chamber of Commerce joined with other business organizations and intervened in a legal challenge brought by AFL-CIO and other union groups, arguing that DHS’s regulation imposed new, onerous procedures that employers would have to follow if they received letters from the Social Security Administration (SSA) that social security numbers used by their workers do not match the records in the SSA database.

Additionally, DHS did not comply with the requirements of the Regulatory Flexibility Act when it concluded the new regulation would impose no "new or additional costs" on employers. In granting the Chamber’s Preliminary Injunction in AFL-CIO et al. v. Chertoff, the Court correctly recognized the irreparable harm that businesses and innocent employees would suffer if the
no-match rule went into effect.

If enacted, the DHS rule will create considerable compliance costs, particularly in light of the fact that the agency estimates that 140,000 letters will be sent to employers identifying multiple names including almost eight million mismatches. Further, employers cannot simply ignore this
regulation because doing so would expose them to claims that the employer knowingly hires undocumented workers.

"The logical next step is for the federal government to enact comprehensive immigration reform," Conrad noted. "Attempts to regulate immigration on a piecemeal basis–whether by federal or
state action–create a patchwork of inconsistent requirements that would have a negative effect on the U.S. economy."

The National Chamber Litigation Center, the public policy law firm of the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, is a membership organization that advocates fair treatment of business in the
courts and before regulatory agencies. The U.S. Chamber is the world’s largest business federation, representing more than 3 million businesses and organizations of every size, sector and region.


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