DHS seeks approval on employment verification rule fix
The Homeland Security Department made changes this week to rules governing how employers must respond when a worker provides employment information that does not match government records, Homeland Security Secretary Michael Chertoff said today.
The changes are designed to address the concerns of Judge Charles Breyer of San Francisco, who last year blocked the department's no-match program -- an initiative that would open companies employing illegal immigrants to criminal prosecution if they receive a no-match letter from the government. Chertoff said the department will take the new rules back to the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of California and ask Breyer to lift the injunction.
"This week, I signed the final rule that revises the original rule and addresses the issues that the court raised," Chertoff said. "We will ask the court to lift the injunction and let us proceed with implementation of the rule."
Chertoff said the most significant change was a more comprehensive analysis of the regulation's economic consequences, which Breyer said was required under a 1980 law designed to protect small businesses.
Chertoff did not explain how the department would address the judge's assertion that the program could result in the firing of lawfully employed workers by businesses fearing criminal prosecution. At a briefing with reporters, Chertoff also highlighted recent border security efforts and called on Congress to take up comprehensive immigration reform.
"Ultimately to solve the problem of illegal migration ...we're going to have to go back to Congress and see if we can get comprehensive reform in the future," he said. "This is not a situation that's sustainable over a long period of time."