April 25, 2008

Civil Rights, Immigration Policy And Workers' Rights Groups Present New Evidence On Devastating Impact Of "No Match" Rule

WASHINGTON – The American Civil Liberties Union, Immigration Policy Center (IPC), National Immigration Law Center (NILC) and Low Wage Immigrant Worker (LWIW) Coalition presented new evidence today that confirms that if the Department of Homeland Security's (DHS) proposed "no match" rule goes into effect, it will result in the mass firings of U.S. citizens and other authorized workers and have a devastating impact on American businesses and the economy.

The rule, which was republished on March 26 for public comment, would unlawfully use the error-ridden Social Security Administration (SSA) database for immigration enforcement by requiring employers to fire workers who are unable to resolve discrepancies in their Social Security records.

Today was the final day the DHS accepted comments on the rule. A broad range of organizations from civil rights to business groups have submitted comments in strong opposition to the rule, including the ACLU and the LWIW Coalition.

The LWIW Coalition's comments and a new report from the Immigration Policy Center include data from a new economic analysis commissioned by the U.S. Chamber of Commerce and authored by Richard B. Belzer. Belzer, who holds a Ph.D. in Public Policy from Harvard University, is an expert in federal agency regulatory policies and practices. For ten years he served as an economist with the President's Office of Management and Budget (OMB). Belzer's analysis shows unambiguously that the proposed "no match" rule would have significant negative economic costs to employers and work-authorized immigrants.

The statements below can be attributed to the following:

Michele Waslin, Immigration Policy Center Senior Policy Analyst:
"By attempting to turn the Social Security Administration 'no match' letters into an immigration enforcement tool, DHS will not stop the flow of undocumented immigration nor substitute for meaningful immigration reform. The new rule, however, will result in U.S. citizens and lawful residents losing their jobs, will be costly for employers, and will place additional burden on an already overworked, understaffed and under-resourced Social Security Administration. More than 165,000 lawful U.S. workers could lose their jobs because of their inability to resolve discrepancies with the SSA. The cost to employers will be at least $1 billion per year. While the 'no match' program began as an effort to correct the SSA records so that workers could receive the benefits they earned, it will end up sending more workers into the underground cash economy where they will no longer contribute taxes to the SSA, and it will harm those hardworking Americans who can expect longer delays when applying for benefits."

Lucas Guttentag, ACLU Immigrants' Rights Project Director:
"Relying on the error-filled Social Security database is a recipe for disaster. The Bush administration rule will punish hardworking lawful workers, deny jobs to U.S. citizens and cause discrimination and retaliation against workers who may appear foreign or who assert their workplace rights. Rather than punishing American workers who will be the innocent victims of a fatally deficient database, the administration should abandon this rule unless it can guarantee that no American worker will lose her job.

Sarita Gupta, Jobs with Justice Executive Director, representing Low-Wage Immigrant Worker Coalition:
"This ill-conceived rule will undermine the rights of all workers and do nothing to address the reality of some seven million vulnerable workers at work in America. We have already seen that employers, to protect themselves from liability under immigration laws, incorrectly assume that workers listed in 'no match' letters are undocumented and simply fire them without giving them a chance to correct their records. Other even less scrupulous employers have used no-match letters as a tool to get more cover to hire and exploit undocumented workers, and thereby undermine all workers' rights."

A copy of the ACLU comments is available at:

A copy of the LWIC comments is available at:

The executive summary of the IPC comprehensive analysis of the SSA "no match" rule is available at:

Belzer's analysis is available at:

The following includes a sampling of organizations from across the country that are on record as being opposed to the DHS proposed rule:

National and Regional Organizations
ACORN AFL-CIO American Civil Liberties Union
American Friends Service Committee
Center for Community Change
Change to Win
Fair Immigration Reform Movement
Interfaith Worker Justice
Jobs with Justice
Mexican American Legal Defense and Educational Fund
National Employment Law Project
National Immigration Law Center
National Korean American Service & Education Consortium (NAKASEC)
Northwest Federation of Community Organizations
Northwest Workers' Justice Project
South Asian Americans Leading Together
United Electrical, Radio and Machine Workers of America (UE)

State and Local Organizations
California Rural Legal Assistance, Inc., CA
California Rural Legal Assistance Foundation, CA
Chicago Workers' Collaborative, IL
Conexión Américas, TN
East Bay Alliance for a Sustainable Economy, CA El CENTRO de Igualdad y Derechos, NM
El Centro, Inc, KS
Greater Boston Legal Services, MA
Hate Free Zone, WA
Idaho Community Action Network, ID
Illinois Coalition for Immigrant and Refugee Rights, IL
Korean American Resource & Cultural Center, IL
Korean Resource Center, CA
La Fuente, NY
La Raza Centro Legal, CA
Maintenance Cooperation Trust Fund, CA
Massachusetts Immigrant and Refugee Advocacy Coalition, MA
Nebraska Appleseed Center for Law in the Public Interest, NE
North Carolina Justice Center, NC
Oregon Action, OR
Pennsylvania Immigration and Citizenship Coalition, PA
Services, Immigrant Rights, and Education Network, CA
South Chicago Workers Center, IL
Sweatshop Watch, CA
Washington Community Action Network, WA
Working Hands Legal Clinic, IL
YKASEC - Empowering the Korean American Community, NY

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