Jottings By An Employer's Lawyer

Wednesday, August 08, 2007

The Immigration Issue: Lighting the Fire

Shortly, perhaps this week according to the story in today's NYT, the Department of Homeland Security is set to issue final rules which would require employers to fire workers who use false social security numbers. U.S. Set for a Crackdown on Illegal Hiring.

The final regulations, first proposed in draft form last summer, had been delayed awaiting potential Congressional action on an overall solution to the immigration issue which of course did not happen.

Among the likely results of the final regulations between now and the end of the year —
  • the Social Security office will be swamped with calls for clarification by employers;
  • large numbers of individuals will lose their jobs;
  • an increase in charges and litigation related to national origin discrimination; and
  • more business owners prosecuted for hiring illegal aliens;

Among the possible results following the implementation of the regulation

  • increased pressure on Congress to act on immigration;
  • increased unemployment (official or otherwise);
  • lower productivity for the nation's workforce as a whole; and an
  • increased strain in relationships between the immigrant community and those supporting a hardline position on immigration

It may well be that some sort of catalyst is needed to provide the necessary foundation for a solution to this complex problem. It is possible these regulations will be that catalyst.

On the other hand, my apprehensions about the law of unintended consequences are quite high.

Update (8/10/07): Here is a link to the final "no match" regulations and also a brief summary prepared by my firm.

Additonally, the Department of Homeland Security indicated its intent to increase civil penalties as much as 25%. See the Fact Sheet: Improving Border Security and Immigration Within Existing Law, for more information on other steps announced by the Department today.

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