No-Match A No-No

No-Match A No-No

No Match A No-Go. I’m Greg Martin with today’s Line On Agriculture.

The issue has been a letter that employers might receive when an employee’s social security information doesn’t match up and that opened a big can of worms where employers were becoming a policing agency. Dan Fazio with Washington State Farm Bureau has been saying all along that the No-Match Letter was probably not going to fly.

FAZIO: On July 8th the Department of Homeland Securities announced that it would rescind what we call the No-Match Safe Harbor regulation that was issued back in August of 2007. What this was, was rules that provided a procedure for employers to follow when they receive a No-Match letter from the Social Security Administration.

Fazio says that while it is good news there is a bit of a funny twist to the story.

FAZIO: Basically what happened was shortly after the regulation was issued labor unions and the ACLU filed a legal challenge to the rule which caused the courts to put an injunction against it. When the Obama Administration came in in January it put them in a tough position because the Administration supports the policy behind this No-Match Safe Harbor rule but it didn’t want to fight with its allies.

And that was good news for employers.

FAZIO: What DHS is telling us is that the regulation doesn’t change the agencies position. The fact that they have no regulation they say doesn’t change their position, they believe that employers who receive information about the legal status of workers should take steps and investigate but really what we know is the lack of a regulation puts employers in a much better situation.

Fazio adds that DHS will be asking courts to enforce a procedure when the agency has tried and failed to adopt it.

FAZIO: So real good news for employers the No-Match Safe Harbor rule which would have required you to jump through a lots of hoops when you got one of these letters from the Social Security Administration has gone away and by the way, the Social Security Administration No-Match Letter specifically states that the letter by itself can’t be used to take actions against employees.

Farm Bureau stated early on that this would be a tough program to sell and had too many flaws.

FAZIO: So it does highlight the problem that everyone has and that is that we do not have a legal and stable workforce in agriculture or anywhere else in the U.S. and we really don’t have a good way for employers to quickly and easily check the legal status of workers.

That’s today’s Line On Agriculture. I’m Greg Martin on the Northwest Ag Information Network.

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