As we previously reported, the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) issued a final rule, scheduled to take effect on September 14, 2007, that would affect employers' responsibilities in verifying workers' employment authorization. Under the final rule, employers are expected to take specific steps when receiving a Social Security Administration (SSA) no-match letter to ensure they are complying with legal hiring requirements (See DHS Issues Final Rule on Social Security Administration 'No-Match' Letters). The new regulations have attracted significant controversy, leading prominent organizations such as AFL-CIO and ACLU to file suit challenging the rule. The suit asserts that because the final rule imposes liability on employers who fail to respond to a SSA or DHS letter, errors attributable to the government's database would pose a direct threat to the jobs of U.S. citizens and other authorized workers. U.S. District Judge Maxine M. Chesney in San Francisco has issued a temporary restraining order staying the implementation of the final rule. The order prevents DHS or SSA from enacting or enforcing the rule until an October 1 hearing to determine whether an injunction should be issued. We will continue to monitor this issue and provide you with the latest updates as they become available. In the interim, please do not hesitate to contact us should you have questions or concerns about how the final rule could affect your responsibilities in verifying workers' employment authorization.
Passport Requirements to Resume October 1, 2007
Beginning October 1, 2007, U.S. citizens traveling by air to Canada, Mexico, the Caribbean or Bermuda must present a passport or other Western Hemisphere Travel Initiative-compliant documentation to enter or depart from the United States. As a reminder, DHS issued a temporary accommodation to U.S. citizens with pending passport applications that allows them to travel by air within the Western Hemisphere with proof of their passport application receipt and some form of government-issued photo ID. The temporary accommodation ends as scheduled at midnight on September 30, 2007. U.S. citizens who departed the U.S. under the accommodation prior to October 1 will be readmitted with proof of a passport application receipt and a government-issued photo ID, even if returning to the U.S. after September 30. As early as January 31, 2008, U.S. citizens traveling between the U.S. and Canada, Mexico, the Caribbean or Bermuda by land or sea could also be required to present a valid U.S. passport. It is expected that DHS will issue a final rule on this requirement in the coming months. We will provide you with the latest updates as they become available.