The Social Security Administration (SSA) has not yet decided whether it will resume sending No-Match letters, according to a written statement issued today. The American Immigration Lawyers Association (AILA) had posed several questions to the SSA earlier last month concerning No-Match letters in light of the DHS’ recent decision to rescind the controversial No-Match letter rule. While today’s statement was brief, we did learn the following:
- While the decision on sending No-Match letters remains to be seen, the SSA will continue sending letters directly to employees to request correction of discrepancies in their records. These letters (known as DECOR or Decentralized Correspondence letters) are not sent to employers.
- The SSA has been engaged in a quality control study through its Office of Quality Performance (OQP) whereby they will contact an employer to request SSA documentation (either by mail or phone). According to SSA’s response today, this information is not being shared with other government agencies and is to be used for SSA internal purposes only. Thus far, seventy employers from six regions (Boston, New York, Kansas City, Dallas, Denver, and Seattle) have been contacted.
SSA also indicated that is not involved in conducting E-Verify compliance audits, data mining, or other E-Verify reporting. This appears to be under the exclusive jurisdiction of the DHS.
Tomorrow, the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) will publish a proposal to rescind the controversial Social Security No-Match Rule while promoting greater participation in E-Verify, IMAGE, and other government programs. DHS had previously announced its intention to rescind the rule in early July amidst support for the E-Verify federal contractor rule.
The Social Security No-Match regulation, originally introduced in 2007 and amended in 2008, established certain mandatory steps and obligations for employers following receipt of a “no-match letter.” These letters, often labeled “Employer Correction Requests,” inform employers of a mismatch between an employee’s W-2 information and the social security records. The regulation also established a “safe harbor” for employers from evidentiary use of no-match letters against them. Implementation of the rule was challenged in federal court, leading to a suspension of no-match letters and enjoinment of the rule.
In tomorrow’s proposal, DHS outlines the basis for its policy change, including a detailed description of E-Verify improvements, new worksite enforcement and community outreach efforts that it will be implementing in the near future. In particular, DHS’s worksite enforcement strategy now includes a restructured process for worksite administrative fines, a debarment policy that prevents employers from receiving Federal contracts when they are in violation of worksite laws, and a Document and Benefit Fraud Task Forces (DBFTF) cooperative to combat the vulnerabilities exploited by identity and document fraud organizations.
An advance copy of the rule can be viewed here. Comments can be submitted for 30 days following publication of the rule.
The Department of Homeland Security (DHS) announced today that the Obama Administration fully supports the E-Verify Federal Contractor Rule, which is currently slated to go into effect on September 8, 2009. Up until now, the Administration had not formally expressed an opinion on the rule, while pushing back the effective date several times this year.
“After a careful review, the Administration will push ahead with full implementation of the rule, which will apply to federal solicitations and contract awards Government-wide starting on September 8, 2009.”
As part of today’s announcement, DHS also indicated that it will rescind its controversial Social Security No-match regulation which would have required employers to undertake a series of steps for employees whose names and Social Security numbers do not match.
In related news, the Senate voted on (and passed) an amendment today, offered by Senator Sessions, to the DHS 2010 appropriations bill which would permanently reauthorize E-Verify and codify the Federal Contractor rule. The Senate now has to approve the entire DHS appropriations bill and reconcile it with the House version (which had only a 2-year extension of E-Verify and no Federal Contractor provisions).