Search This Blog

Tuesday, November 27, 2007

Upate on Immigration: A New Form, A New "No Match" Rule in the Pipeline, and New Legislation

If you recall, SBE Council strenuously opposed the “no match” rule advanced by the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) due to its unreasonable burden on small employers, as well as the fact that it rests upon the notion that the Social Security Administration (SSA) database is generally clean of errors, and kept up-to-date (which, it is not). Several labor unions and business organizations sued the government, asking a judge to stay the “no match” rule. The judge agreed. At the end of last week, the DHS filed a motion to stay the rule, and said the department would re-work it to take into account the judge’s concerns. SBE Council will carefully monitor this process – that is, we will review the re-worked rule when it is released for public comment to ensure it is reality-based and does not unduly hurt small firms.

Meanwhile, a bill has been introduced in the House and Senate that would mandate use of the Basic Pilot E-Verify program – essentially the federal government’s database that employers would be required to use to verify social security numbers and the eligibility of employees. It is a well-documented fact that the database has many errors (which is also a key argument in the “no match” rule legal challenge). Unfortunately, the proposed legislation incorporates the worst features of the “no match” rule. The Secure America through Verification and Enforcement Act, or “SAVE” Act -- introduced by Reps. Heath Shuler (D-NC) and Brian Bilbray (R-Calif.), and Senator Mark Pryor (D-Ark.) would require employers to use the flawed government database to verify workers, and when reconciling the eligibility of employees “in question” following receipt of a no-match letter. The turn around time for reconciling no-match letters also appears unrealistic.

Why does Congress continue to hoist these really bad ideas on small business without first fixing the core problems?

Finally, employers need to know that beginning December 26, 2007, you will need to use the new I-9 form when hiring new employees. Please click here for more information, and to access the new I-9 form.

1 comment:

Kathleen Webb said...

So how do the core problems get fixed?

Until we force a validation of the data, there will always be errors.

If Leticia Gomez-Paz has a Social Security record formated as Paz, Leticia Gomez there will certainly be a mis-match with data submitted as Gomez-Pax, Leticia. However, until the problem is identified somehow (no-match letters IMHO are a good way to start) it cannot be fixed.

We cannot keep saying NO to workplace enforcement and still complain that the government won't do anything about illegal immigration.

What we need to be advocating for is a strong citizen-focused records correction/validation system - govt. employees really empowered to correct the errors, not make the citizen or legal immigrant jump through 50 hoops just to be sent back to the end of the line.

Bottom line, the only way to find and fix the errors is to start using the existing records and go from there.