The U.S. District Judge has ruled, against the U.S. Department of Homeland Security's proposal to halt illegal immigration. This means the U.S. government cannot send letters asking employers to check their workers' legal status based on Social Security records.

This preliminary injunction extends the stoppage DHS' plan untillawsuit filed by the AFL-CIO and other unions gets its day in court.

In his decision, judge Charles Breyer wrote that under the DHS' plan legal workers could be unfairly fired because of Social Security Administration recording errors. The plaintiffs, represented by ACLU also argued that foreign-born workers would face discrimination as employers tried to avoid the hassle of checking their status.

DHS released the rules in August in an attempt to crack down on employers who hire illegal immigrants. The provision outlined that DHS would send warning letters to employers with "no match" letters when a worker's data didn't that of the Social Security Administration. About 140,000 "no match" letters were expected to be sent this year. Estimates are that could have affected 8 million employees.

DHS Secretary Michael Chertoff says his agency was "disappointed" by the ruling and would consider an appeal. Meanwhile, DHS will continue work-site enforcement, he says.

 This proposal was one tool to use to establish constructive knowledge of who was hiring illegal aliens, says Pat Reilly, spokeswoman for U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement, but there are others.

Social Security Administration officials have not indicated whether it will send out letters independently of these actions.

Source: The Orange County Register