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California court stops SSN ‘no-match’ letters

November 17, 2010

An October opinion by the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of California effectively halted the Department of Homeland Security’s issuance of "no-match" letters, which took effect in September.

Dealerships were to receive "no-match" letters from the Social Security Administration and the DHS when employee names or Social Security Number (SSN) information on I-9 Employment Eligibility Verification or W-2 forms do not match government records.

But the California court-issued preliminary injunction raised concerns about the procedures employers must use to verify the immigration status of new hires when a discrepancy or "no-match" is identified.

The DHS has indicated that, although it has not ruled out an appeal, it is considering revisions to the rule designed to address the court’s concerns.

Meanwhile, all employers must continue to verify the immigration status of new employees using the I-9 Employment Eligibility Verification Form (I-9). Earlier this month, the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) revised the I-9 and updated its publication, "Handbook for Employers, Instructions for Completing the Form I-9."

Among the most significant changes, the USCIS removed five documents from the "acceptable" list for verifying ID and employment eligibility because they are easily tampered with and can be counterfeited.

In its original form, if employee SSN discrepancies persisted, the dealership would have to terminate the subject employee or risk a finding by the DHS that it had constructive knowledge of an illegal alien being employed.

Dealers can direct questions to the regulatory affairs division of the NADA, at 703-821-7040.