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Court Issues Preliminary Injunction on No-Match Letter Rule


On October 10, 2007, the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of California issued a preliminary injunction in AFL-CIO, et al. v. Chertoff, et al. (N.D. Cal. Case No. 07-CV-4472 CRB). The preliminary injunction enjoins and restrains the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) and the Social Security Administration (SSA) from implementing the final rule, “Safe-Harbor Procedures for Employers Who Receive a No-Match Letter.” Plaintiffs are a consortium of labor and business groups. The court said the balance of hardships “tips sharply in plaintiffs’ favor” and that plaintiffs have “raised serious issues going to the merits.” The court noted that the planned mailing of the no-match letters and accompanying DHS guidance under the final rule, within the timeline allotted, would have resulted in the “termination of employment to lawfully employed workers” because there are numerous errors in the SSA records, and that the “threat of criminal prosecution” represents a major change in DHS policy. Approximately eight million workers would have been affected, and the letters would have gone to about 140,000 employers. The preliminary injunction does not preclude the SSA from sending out its traditional no-match letters without the final rule language.

The preliminary injunction is available at www.nilc.org.

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