Homeland Security Officially Kills No Match Rule

homeland securityIn what amounts to a formality, the U.S. Department of Homeland Security has put the last nail in the coffin of the “no match” rule, officially rescinding the much debated, but never implemented proposal.

First announced two years ago in August and almost as quickly blocked by the courts, the “no match” rule required employers to fire workers who couldn’t resolve discrepancies in their Social Security information. The rule took its name from the letters the Social Security Administration sent to employers informing them there was no match between SSA records and what the employer provided.

Homeland Security laid out a fairly rigorous series of steps that, if followed, immunized an employer from legal consequences for hiring the “no match” worker. Termination of the employee was one of the steps when a mismatch couldn’t be resolved.

The AFL-CIO, ACLU, and other worker and immigrants’ rights groups sued and won a restraining order preventing the “no match” rule from being implemented. Other groups, including agri-businesses, farm owners, and some builders also opposed the rule, despite its safe harbor provision.

Among the arguments the groups made was the existence of errors in Social Security records, and that the rule would keep employers from hiring foreign-born workers, or those who appeared to be, rather than risk a no match ruling.

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With the court siding with the labor groups, and the growing emphasis being placed on the E-Verify program, not much has happened with the no match program. The U.S. Social Security Administration has even stopped sending no match letters.

Finally in July, Homeland Security threw in the towel, saying it would rescind its proposal. That was done Wednesday when the government published a final rule in the Federal Register. The recession takes effect on Nov. 6th.

John Zappe was the editor of TLNT.com and contributing editor of ERE.net. John was a newspaper reporter and editor until his geek gene lead him to launch his first website in 1994. He developed and managed online newspaper employment sites and sold advertising services to recruiters and employers. Before joining ERE Media in 2006, John was a senior consultant and analyst with Advanced Interactive Media and previously was Vice President of Digital Media for the Los Angeles Newspaper Group.