Letters From Washington: Your Employees Could Be Undocumented

This from yesterday’s NY Times

LOS ANGELES — The Trump administration is notifying tens of thousands of employers that the names of some of their employees do not match their Social Security numbers, a move that is forcing businesses across the country to brace for the loss of thousands of workers who lack legal status.

The Social Security Administration has mailed “no-match letters” to more than 570,000 employers since March, sending shock waves through the hospitality, construction and agriculture industries, which rely heavily on undocumented workers. The letters have left many employers conflicted, uncertain whether to take action that could result in losing workers or to risk fines down the road.

The notices do not necessarily require employers to take action, but direct them to take steps to reconcile mismatches, which would require contacting the workers. Undocumented workers who are notified of the letters by their employers often choose to quickly resign, fearing scrutiny from federal immigration authorities. But employers who do nothing could also face enforcement actions.

“There is a high level of anxiety over these no-match letters,’’ said Angelo Amador, regulatory counsel at the National Restaurant Association, which represents about one million food-service establishments. He said the association has been barraged with emails and phone calls from concerned companies.

An estimated 7.8 million undocumented immigrants were in the labor force in 2016, according to the Pew Research Center. Most pay Social Security taxes for which they receive no credit because they are using a made-up Social Security number. For years, the Social Security Administration notified employers when the number on an employee’s W-2 form did not match a name on file.

Who’s Barack Obama Working For These Days?