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Department of Homeland Security to Rescind SSA “Safe-Haven” Rule

The Department of Homeland Security (DHS) published a rule in 2007 setting forth “safe haven” procedures for an employer to complete upon receipt of a Social Security Administration (SSA) “no-match” letter. A “no-match” letter is a letter from the SSA to an employer that a particular employee does not match the SSA database. The DHS rule created the “safe haven” rule that allowed safe haven to employers if they followed a short and harsh timeline for verifying the person’s employment with consequences that could lead to many immigrants being fired. The AFL-CIO and various organizations succeeded in getting a court to stop the rule from going into effect for the time being.

The DHS proposed on August 19, 2009 a rule that cancels its prior “save haven” rule. The DHS is currently accepting public comments on the August 19, 2009 rule until September 18, 2009, after which it will issue the final rule rescinding its “safe haven” procedures.

Please note that the SSA will continue to issue “no-match” letters, but the DHS will not require that “safe haven” procedures be followed. Employers should simply follow the instructions on the SSA letter as presented. Please feel free to contact our office with any questions.

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