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Federal judge blocks tougher penalties for illegal-alien hiring

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By Michelle Malkin  •  August 31, 2007 10:03 PM

Oh, crikey. A San Francisco federal judge appointed by guess-who interferes with stiffer employer sanctions for businesses that knowingly hire illegal aliens because she says she needs more “breathing room:”

The Social Security Administration cannot start sending out letters to employers next week that carry with them more serious penalties for knowingly hiring illegal immigrants, a federal judge ruled Friday.

Ruling on a lawsuit by the nation’s largest federation of labor unions against the U.S. government, U.S. District Judge Maxine Chesney granted a temporary restraining order prohibiting the so-called “no-match” letters from going out as planned starting Tuesday…

…Chesney said the court needs “breathing room” before making any decision on the legality of new penalties aimed at cracking down on the hiring of illegal immigrants.

She set the next hearing on the matter for Oct. 1.

Who’s behind the lawsuit? Big Labor. Yeah, you know, the same lobby that’s supposed to be looking after American workers (or as Miss Teen South Carolina would call them, “U.S. American workers”).

The Department of Homeland Security has vowed to fight the lawsuit, calling it “an obvious attempt to impede the department’s ability to enforce our immigration laws.”

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Background on the no-match crackdown from Mark Krikorian:

In the past, no-match letters were sent only to employers with the largest number of problem files, and created no obligation to follow up. In fact, one version of the letter advised employers that “You should not use this letter to take any adverse action against an employee just because his or her Social Security number appears on the list, such as laying off, suspending, firing, or discriminating against that individual. Doing so could, in fact, violate state or federal law and subject you to legal consequences.”

As you can imagine, after that caveat most letters were just thrown away.

The new rule sets out common-sense steps an employer must take upon receiving a no-match letter to ensure that he won’t be held liable if the worker turns out to be an illegal alien. Social Security is now sending out these letters to employers with more than ten mismatches that make up more than one half of one percent of its workforce — covering about 80 percent of all mismatches. Most employers are likely to follow through the process and, if necessary, fire those workers who turn out to be illegals (most of whom will likely have left anyway by that point); while some may re-hire the workers off the books, “An employer who does that,” as Secretary Chertoff points out, “is making a deliberate decision to compound their legal difficulties by committing tax crimes as well as immigration crimes.” (In other words, “You may not think much of my department, but the IRS isn’t fooling around.”)

The underlying rationale for ensuring that no-match letters are acted on by employers is to turn off the magnet of jobs that attracts — and keeps — illegal aliens here. As it becomes harder to get a job, and as the jobs illegals can get are less stable, sneaking across the border or overstaying a visa will become less and less attractive, and illegals already here — especially those with fewer attachments — will start deporting themselves.

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