Thursday, October 11, 2007

Immigrants 1, “No-Match” Mike Chertoff 0

I really wanted to side with Dubya and Mike (“City Of Louisiana”) Chertoff on this one. I really did. But I can’t.

As reported here, Bushco tried to get this country’s private employers to do the work of government again in policing illegal aliens, but…

A federal judge in San Francisco on Wednesday blocked the Bush administration's attempt to enlist the nation's employers to banish illegal immigrants from the workplace.
Apparently, the plan (such as it was) was for DHS to send out “no-match” letters to affected employers (meaning that some employees’ social security numbers from their W-2 tax forms could not be verified against the numbers in the government’s database), and the employer would receive 90 days to resolve the discrepancy and an additional three days for the employee to submit a new number. If the employer failed to act after that, they would be subject to civil fines and/or criminal prosecution (from the story).


(U.S. District Judge Charles) Breyer said unions that challenged the administration's proposal had raised serious questions about its legality and had shown that legal workers, and their employers, would suffer far greater hardship from immediate enforcement of the plan than the government would incur by a delay.
In addition to the unions, the Chamber of Commerce fought this also (and when was the last time that they took a side against this regime)?

Homeland Security Secretary Michael Chertoff, whose agency issued the rule requiring employer notification, said the administration is considering an appeal.
I'm sure they are.

The premise of the rule, he said in a statement, is that "employer diligence will make it more difficult for illegal aliens to use a Social Security number to get a job."

But Lucas Guttentag, chief immigration lawyer for the American Civil Liberties Union, which helped represent the unions in a lawsuit challenging the rule, said the plan's fatal flaw is its reliance on error-filled Social Security records that could lead to the firings of hundreds of thousands of citizens and legal residents.

The administration "showed a callous disregard for legal workers and citizens by adopting a rule that punishes innocent workers and employers under the guise of so-called immigration enforcement," Guttentag said.
As for Bushco’s business benefactors…

"It's an attempt to enlist employers as immigration cops," Randy Johnson, vice president of the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, said Wednesday. While such an effort is not necessarily improper, Johnson said, the administration's plan would do little to clear up employer confusion about no-match letters and would snare large numbers of legal employees along with the undocumented.

The unions made a similar argument, saying the government and employers commonly make mistakes in recording Social Security numbers and that name changes due to marriage and divorce and discrepancies in the spellings of foreign names lead to similar confusion.

Many legitimate workers would be unable to locate records within sprawling federal agencies and clear up discrepancies within 90 days, the unions said. They said the rule also would prompt employers to fire, or refuse to hire, legal workers with foreign names or appearances.

(Breyer) found other potential legal problems, including the administration's failure to explain its reversal of a decade-old government policy of not prosecuting employers on the basis of a discrepancy in a worker's Social Security number.

"Needless to say, this change in position will have massive ramifications for how employers treat the receipt of no-match letters," Breyer said.

In addition, Breyer said, Homeland Security lacked legal authority for a statement in the letter that assured employers that the government would not sue them for discrimination if they fired workers because of unresolved no-match letters. There has been no such assurance from the Justice Department office that is responsible for such suits, Breyer said.
How ridiculous is it, by the way, that Chertoff (who is supposedly a lawyer, seeing as how he his name was once actually floated to replace Abu G. at DOJ) didn’t understand the legal parameters of what he was requesting, not knowing that DHS didn’t have the standing to sue employers for non-compliance? And even if they did, can you imagine the tidal wave of litigation that would ensue? And to expect some employers to upgrade their computer systems and records in 90 days with the most accurate information is something out of la-la land.

Another thing – does anyone seriously believe that the majority of those immigrants, illegal or otherwise, would just automatically say, “OK, I have to leave this country now, so I guess I’ll be going?” If anyone thinks that would happen, they probably also think that we found Saddam Hussein’s WMD in Iraq.

No, they’ll just move within this country’s underground economy elsewhere. Maybe instead of working at a loading dock for the employer where they were nabbed, they might just move onto working for an overland freight hauler, pumping gas at a station/convenience store, cooking fast food, cleaning a house, or babysitting somebody’s kid.

Richard Clarke, a man who has forgotten more about the threat of terrorism facing this country than most people will ever know, has said that we need national ID cards. I’m not sure how I can disagree, except to say that I think Diebold, for example, should be disqualified from bidding on a job like that. So the need to control and/or begin to stem the flow of human traffic through our borders is important, I acknowledge.

And I’ll also admit that I don’t have a solution off the top of my head. However, Mike Chertoff’s half-baked scheme to get business to do Bushco’s job isn’t the answer.

No comments: