Immigration Enforcement Update

While growers got a reprieve from Social Security “no-match” letters in 2007, states have enacted their own illegal immigration enforcement laws that will take effect this year.

According to the Washington Post, Arizona is where the nation’s toughest and potentially most far-reaching crackdown on undocumented workers and their employers will be. The Arizona law, which took effect Jan. 1, penalizes companies that knowingly hire illegal immigrants by suspending their business licenses for up to 10 days. On the second offense, the business license would be revoked.

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At the federal level last August, the Department of Homeland Security issued a new rule giving employers 90 days to terminate workers whose paperwork could not be reconciled once they received a no-match letter. Enforcement was blocked in October through an injunction granted by a federal district court judge in California.

In the past, employers were not required to act on no-match letters received from the Social Security Administration.

“The no-match letters are an important tool, not only for the department to better enforce our immigration laws, but also for employers to make sure they are complying with the law and appropriate hiring practices,” said Veronica Valdes, spokeswoman for the Department of Homeland Security, in an interview with the Atlanta Journal-Constitution. “We are in no way abandoning the no-match rule.” The department will revise the rule and try again, she said.

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