As reported in our September 10th update (“No-Match Letters Regulation Smashed”), a federal judge in California issued an order preventing the implementation of the new rules and regulations entitled Safe-Harbor Procedures for Employers Who Receive a No-Match Letter. These final rules, which were to be effective September 14, 2007, described the legal obligations of an employer under the current immigration law if the employer received a no-match letter from the Social Security Administration, or received a letter from the Department of Homeland Security regarding employment verification forms. The rules also described the “safe-harbor” procedures that an employer could follow in response to a letter to ensure that the letter would not be used as any part of an allegation that the employer had constructive knowledge that an employee referred to in the letter was not authorized to work in the United States. The judge also barred the Social Security Administration from sending out approximately 141,000 no-match letters to employers, pending a hearing on October 1, 2007.

On October 1, 2007, the hearing was held and the temporary restraining order was extended another ten (10) days. The judge, commenting at the end of the hearing, said that, “it just seems to me looking at it that this is a potentially enormous burden on the employer.” The judge will issue a ruling within 10 days. We will continue to monitor this important development.