U.S. District Court Judge Charles Breyer on Wednesday barred the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) from enforcing a rule that would use Social Security records for immigration enforcement.

The preliminary order prevents implementation of a DHS rule originally scheduled to go into effect in September that would use Social Security Administration (SSA) no-match letters as a way to force employers to terminate illegal workers. However, a suit filed by a consortium of groups, including the AFL-CIO, American Civil Liberties Union, and the National Immigration Law Center argued that legal workers would be terminated as well.

The groups were successful in obtaining a temporary injunction stopping DHS from issuing the SSA no-match letters. A hearing on Oct. 1 was held to determine if the temporary injunction would remain in place until a trial can be held sometime next year.

In his order keeping the injunction in place, Breyer agreed with the plaintiffs. "The government's proposal to disseminate no-match letters affecting more than 8 million workers will, under the mandated time line, result in the termination of employment to lawfully employed workers..." Further, he found that, if implemented, the rule, "would result in irreparable harm to innocent workers and employers."

DHS Secretary Michael Chertoff said the agency was disappointed in the ruling that continued the injunction and will examine options, including appeal.
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