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Texas Employers Lawyer Up After Flurry Of Social Security Administration Letters

Jun 7, 2019
Houston Public Media

Citing immigration and workforce concerns, businesses across the state are approaching attorneys on how to deal with hundreds of thousands of “no-match letters”. Letters are part of a renewed government effort that has historically been used to identify undocumented workers. 

Texas companies are responding to a renewed government effort that has been used to identify undocumented workers.  

Employers worry that hundreds of thousands of letters coming from the Social Security Administration could lead to immigrants leaving their jobs.

The move has spurred business-owners to ask lawyers how to handle the onslaught of what are called “no-match letters” that flag workers with incorrect social security numbers.

“The agency mailed approximately 577,000 Employer Correction Request letters to date,” a spokesperson for the Social Security Administration said in a written statement in end-May.

Letters include as many as dozens of names of employees with mismatched information. 

Employers are being asked to look into inaccuracies, potentially exposing hundreds of thousands of undocumented workers who could leave their jobs out of fear, or may eventually be asked to leave.

This is the first time this has happened in years and it’s part of the Trump administration’s increased enforcement of workplace immigration violations.

Ignoring the letters could leave employers vulnerable if immigration authorities investigate.

“We are advising them (employers) to notify employees about their responsibility to correct their social security numbers,” said immigration lawyer Nathaniel Martinez, with the Texas-based firm Munsch Hardt Kopf & Harr.  

Martinez said his firm has heard from nervous business-owners across industries, ranging from oil and gas and manufacturing to hospitality and construction.

“The majority of businesses that we are seeing that are affected by the Social Security no-match letters are mid-sized businesses, several hundred employees, up to a thousand, and sometimes about 50% or 60% of their workforce have been affected by these no-match letters,” said Martinez. 

He also said his clients, even some who may have supported President Trump, are confused by the move that could affect their businesses. 

“When they get over the shock of getting these letters, one of the initial comments to me is ‘I’ve been doing everything by the book with respect to ensuring that my employees are work authorized and now I’m getting these letters that potentially may end my business,’ ” said Martinez.

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