In a new effort to crack down on illegal immigrants, federal authorities are expected to announce tough rules this week that would require employers to fire workers who use false Social Security numbers.
Officials said the rules would be backed up by stepped-up raids on workplaces across the country that employ illegal immigrants.
After first proposing the rules last year, Department of Homeland Security officials said they held off finishing them to await the outcome of the debate in Congress over a sweeping immigration bill. That measure, which was supported by President Bush, died in the Senate in June.
Now Bush administration officials are signaling that they intend to clamp down on employers of illegal immigrants even without a new immigration law. The approach is expected to play well with conservatives who have long demanded a tougher stance on illegal immigration, but could also spur a renewed legislative effort to provide legal status for the estimated six million or so unauthorized immigrants in the work force.
“We are tough and we are going to be even tougher,” said Russ Knocke, the spokesman for the Department of Homeland Security. “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.”
Experts said the new rules represented a major tightening of the immigration enforcement system, in which employers for decades have paid little attention to notices, known as no-match letters, from the Social Security Administration that workers’ names and numbers did not match the agency’s records.
Wait, you mean they're going to start enforcing laws already on the books? What's taken them so damn long?!?!