DHS Cracks Down on Employers of Illegal Immigrants

On August 10, the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) issued a regulation that outlines the specific steps an employer should take if that employer receives a "no-match" letter from the Social Security Administration informing the employer that there is an employee whose name and Social Security number do not match government records, and is therefore not authorized to work in the United States.

According to an announcement made by DHS secretary Michael Chertoff, the Employment Eligibility Verification System is a voluntary program that allows employers to check the work status of their employees online, using a computer-based tool. The tool, which DHS is aiming to expand under the name E-Verify, tells employers whether the particular document matches the Social Security number and whether both of those are genuine when compared to these databases. If a discrepancy exists, a "no-match" letter will be sent to the employer.

Within 30 days of getting a no-match letter, the business will be required to check their records to make sure the discrepancy isn't an administrative error, and the employee must be asked to confirm the accuracy of the information. If the problem cannot be resolved within 90 days, and the employee has no evidence that they are authorized to work in the United States, the company must terminate the employee.

Receiving a no-match letter puts the company on notice that there is a discrepancy or a problem with the records pertaining to a particular employee, according to the announcement from Chertoff. If the employer does not work to resolve the problem, they may be held liable for employing an unauthorized worker and could face stiff penalties.

"Ultimately," said Chertoff in a press statement, "these guidelines will make it more difficult for illegal aliens to use a fraudulent Social Security number to get a job, and it will help employers take appropriate action to protect themselves."

CLICK HERE to read safe harbor procedures for employers who receive a no-match letter.

CLICK HERE to read remarks on the no-match letter made by DHS secretary Michael Chertoff and Commerce Secretary Gutierrez at a press conference.

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