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Judge rejects Bush attempt to speed up rule: No speed-up for No-Match

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  • abeltranjurisdr@aol.com
    ... This article was sent to you by someone who found it on SFGate. The original article can be found on SFGate.com here:
    Message 1 of 1 , Dec 5, 2008
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      This article was sent to you by someone who found it on SFGate.
      The original article can be found on SFGate.com here:

      Friday, December 5, 2008 (SF Chronicle)

      Judge rejects Bush attempt to speed up rule targeting illegal workers

      Bob Egelko, Chronicle Staff Writer

      (12-05) 13:19 PST SAN FRANCISCO -- A federal judge in San Francisco
      rejected the Bush administration's request today to speed up consideration
      of rules that would pressure employers to fire suspected illegal
      immigrants whose Social Security numbers didn't match records in the
      government's database.

      U.S. District Judge Charles Breyer - who blocked the so-called no-match
      rule from taking effect in October 2007 - turned down a proposal by the
      Department of Homeland Security for an accelerated hearing schedule that
      might have allowed a new version to take effect before President Bush
      leaves office next month.

      Instead, Breyer set a standard schedule for consideration of a lawsuit by
      labor unions and business groups challenging the rule, with written
      arguments planned through Feb. 24. He observed that the incoming
      administration of President-elect Barack Obama might want to take another
      look at the issue, said Scott Kronland, lawyer for the AFL-CIO and several
      other unions in the case.

      "There was no policy reason for trying to expedite things to prevent a new
      administration from looking at these last-minute rules," Kronland said.

      He noted that Homeland Security had taken more than a year after Breyer
      issued his injunction to submit its current version of the rule, which
      contains new rationales but is virtually identical to the previous

      A Homeland Security spokeswoman was not immediately available for comment.
      The Bush administration says the no-match rule would add teeth to a
      little-enforced 1986 law that prohibits businesses from knowingly
      employing illegal immigrants. Opponents say the plan relies on an
      error-prone database and would lead to the firings of tens of thousands of
      legal workers.

      Obama has not taken a position on the proposed rule.

      Employers now comply with the 1986 law by obtaining identification
      documents from new workers. The government checks Social Security numbers
      on employees' tax forms against its database and notifies employers of
      discrepancies, but doesn't require them to take any action.

      Under the no-match rule, employers who were told about discrepancies would
      have 90 days to clear them up and another three days for an employee to
      submit a new, valid Social Security number. After that, an employer who
      failed to fire the worker would be subject to civil fines and criminal

      Breyer's October 2007 ruling said opponents had raised serious issues
      about whether the rule was legally authorized, and that Homeland Security
      had failed to explain its reversal of a decade-old policy of not
      prosecuting employers over discrepancies in Social Security numbers.

      In its new version of the rule, the department said the government had
      always made clear to employers that they should investigate the reasons
      for discrepancies in Social Security numbers, which it called "a
      legitimate indicator of possible illegal work by unauthorized aliens."

      E-mail Bob Egelko at begelko@....


      Copyright 2008 SF Chronicle

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