Yesterday a federal judge put a hold on the Department of Homeland Security's immigration rule that set in motion reforms that would have required employers to crack down on illegal workers. It was on pace to go into effect shortly.

The Departments  Commerce Department was a co-supporter of the DHS plan. Along with new rules that addressed border security, interior enforcement, guest-worker programs, immigration and immigrant assimilation, eight provisions included work site enforcement, such as:

  • Require employers to take specified steps within 90 days of receiving a "No Match" letter if they have a number of employees with inaccurate personal identity information;
  • Reduce the number of documents that employers must accept to confirm the identity and work eligibility of their employees;
  • Raise by about 25 percent the civil fines imposed on employers who knowingly hire illegal immigrants;
  • Expand criminal investigations against employees who knowingly hire large numbers of illegal workers;
  • Start a rulemaking process to require all federal contracts and vendors to use the Federal Electronic Employment Verification System (E-Verify) to ensure employees are authorized to work in the United States;
  • Assist states in making greater use of E-Verify through outreach and technical assistance;
  • Bolster E-Verify by expanding the data sources it can check;
  • Seek voluntary state partners willing to share their department of motor vehicles photos and records with E-Verify.

Follow this link to see the Homeland Security fact sheet.

Specifically, the federal judge's decision put a stop to the Social Security Administration from mailing notices of the rule to roughly 140,000 employers. Last week, the American Federation of Labor and Congress of Industrial Organizations (AFL-CIO), the American Civil Liberties Union and the National Immigration Law Center filed a lawsuit on the matter.

The groups called the DHS proposal a "misguided" rule that relies on "error-prone" social security records, imposes burdensome obligations on employers and violates existing law and workers' rights. A hearing on the groups' request to permanently scrap the rule is slated for Oct. 1.

 So, for now, the DHS and Commerce Department immigration rule is on hold.