Feds crackdown on employers who use illegal workers

08/08/07 Mitch E. Perry
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In an effort to crack down on illegal immigrants, federal authorites are expected to announce new penalties this week that will require employers to fire workers who use false Social Security numbers.

Russ Knocke, a spokesman for the Department of Homeland Security, tells the New York Times: "There are not going to be any more excuses for employers, and there will be serious consequences for those that choose to blatantly disregard the law.”

Homeland Security will soon release regulations for employers who receive letters notifying them of a discrepancy in an employee’s tax records. Such irregularities may indicate a person is using a fake Social Security number or name to get work.

The rule change will give employers a designated amount of time – it is expected to be between 60 to 90 day - to work with employees to reconcile the inconsistencies. Otherwise, they will have to fire employees or face stiff fines.

Gregg Schell is the managing attorney at the Migrant Farm Worker Justice Project based in Lake Worth. He says the government has considered implementing the rules for awhile, and it is considered to be the catalyst that will force businesses to seriously embrace immigration reform.

Immigrant rights group and labor unions say the new rules will unleash discrimination against Latino workers, and are preparing legal challenges to stop the regulations from taking effect.

Muzaffar Chisti, director of the Migration Policy Institute, tells the New York Times that “if this is strictly enforced, there could be massive layoffs of workers.”

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