AUGUST 30, 2007
A group of immigrant rights organizations are suing the U.S. government to prevent enforcement of new rules that will crack down on employers that hire illegal immigrants.
Under the new measure, which was announced by the Department of Homeland Security earlier this month, companies that hire undocumented workers will be heavily fined and criminally prosecuted. Businesses that ignore warning letters about employees suspected of having fake Social Security numbers will also be fined and face criminal prosecution.
But a lawsuit filed against the Department of Homeland Security this week contends that the new rules are discriminatory and will lead to mass firings of legal workers. Even United States citizens will face discrimination if they look or sound foreign, according to the suit.
Filed in a San Francisco federal court this week, the 17-page complaint also names the Social Security Administration as a defendant because it says letters informing businesses of discrepancies between employee records and the agencyâ??s database would violate workerâ??s rights and impose burdensome obligations on employers.
The Social Security Administration plans to begin sending the â??no-matchâ? letters in early September and the agency estimates that about 15,000 will be sent out weekly for more than two months, naming millions of workers suspected of using false documents. In the past businesses ignored the notifications with no consequences but now they will face fines if they donâ??t respond within 90 days.
The president of the nationâ??s largest federation of unions says the new rules are a tool to repress workerâ??s rights in the name of phony immigration enforcement. That is why his group, the American Federation of Labor and Congress of Industrial Organizations (AFL-CIO) which represents 10 million workers, is a plaintiff in the lawsuit.
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