by Mark Krikorian

A couple of readers wrote in to say that they’d gotten no-match letters, even though their number of employees was far below the current threshold set by the Social Security Administration. And a former Hill staffer reminded me that in 2002 SSA sent out huge numbers of no-match letters, eight times more than usual, in an effort to clean up its records. As the Washington Post described the effort in August of that year:

Since early this year, the Social Security Administration has sent letters to more than 800,000 businesses — about one in eight U.S. employers — asking them to clear up cases in which their workers’ names or Social Security numbers do not match the agency’s files. The letters cover about 7 million employees.

Agency officials say that they are simply trying to tackle a bookkeeping problem and that the action is not related to the new get-tough approach on immigration stemming from the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks. But the result could be the most dramatic blow in years to undocumented workers on company payrolls.

Two-word translation of “the most dramatic blow in years to undocumented workers on company payrolls” — It worked! And that is precisely why the effort was discontinued.

Also from the 2002 Post story:

“The impact is enormous,” said Cecilia Munoz of the National Council of La Raza, which represents Hispanics. “We’re hearing about it from all over the country.”

Cecilia now works in the White House.

And even if Whitman was sent a no-match letter, and her illegal-alien maid actually gave it to her, here’s a paragraph from the letter (emphasis added):

You should not use this letter to take any adverse action against an employee just because his or her Social Security number appears on the list, such as laying off, suspending, firing , or discriminating against the individual. Doing so could, in fact, violate state or federal law and subject you to legal consequences.

You can see why most employers just throw these letters in the trash. Michael Chertoff, when he was Bush’s last secretary of homeland security, actually tried to fix this, by appending a letter from DHS to the no-match letter telling employers what steps they needed to take to protect themselves from “legal consequences” including, after exhausting all other possibilities (like a paperwork mix-up), firing the illegal-alien employee. The AFL-CIO, U.S. Chamber of Commerce, and ACLU (which are really just three sides of the same coin when it comes to immigration) sued to stop Chertoff’s new rules, and the Obama administration dropped the matter entirely.

And finally, my colleague Ron Mortensen has looked at the employment documents Whitman provided reporters and concluded that her illegal-alien maid committed three, maybe four, felonies. Under this administration, she’s no more likely to be prosecuted than she is to get deported.

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