Saturday, 18 May 2024

Judge stops 'no match' worker rule

SAN FRANCISCO – A federal judge in San Francisco ruled on Wednesday to bar the Bush administration from implementing a plan to prosecute businesses, including farms, for failing to fire workers and knowingly employing illegal immigrants if their Social Security numbers do not match government records within 90 days of notification.


The California Farm Bureau Federation said that the ruling should provide “breathing room” to family farmers and others so they can continue to press for federal immigration reform that would allow special visas to immigrants coming to the U.S. to work on farms.


Farmers around the state and here in Lake County expressed concerns late this summer about the proposed Department of Homeland Security reform that would require employers to fire workers within 90 days of receiving a “no-match” letter – a letter stating that the names and Social Security numbers do not match their records – which might cause them to lose legal workers because of a mistake by the government.


U.S. District Judge Charles Breyer told the San Francisco Chronicle that immigration officials wanted to reverse a long-standing government policy not to prosecute employers just because a workers’ Social Security number did not match their records, but did not provide adequate analysis to support the change.


In August, when the Homeland Security released the rule, California Farm Bureau President Doug Mosebar expressed concern about the impact of firing farm workers from California farms which rely heavily on immigrant labor.


“If that were to happen during harvest and [the farmer] couldn't quickly find replacements, he'd lose his crop and face financial ruin,” Mosebar said in a Farm Bureau statement.


Homeland Security Secretary Michael Chertoff, whose agency issued the rule, said the government would consider its options, including an appeal to the Ninth U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in San Francisco, according to the Chronicle.


Until then, the Chronicle reports that Breyer’s order will remain in effect until sometime next year when it goes back to trial or a higher court intervenes.


E-mail Terre Logsdon at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..


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