The Dept. of Homeland Security will temporarily abandon efforts to enforce its regulation cracking down on employers who systematically hire illegal immigrants. Instead, DHS says it will develop a new proposal that it hopes can pass legal muster.

In papers filed with U.S. District Court for the Northern District of California on Nov. 23, DHS asked for a stay until March 2008 of a pending lawsuit challenging its “no-match” rule so that it can draw up a proposal addressing some of the concerns a federal judge raised in October. DHS told the court it plans to develop and publish its revised proposal by March.

Opponents of the rule welcomed DHS’s decision. “The Bush administration essentially admitted that the rule is unlawful,” says AFL-CIO President John Sweeney. “We’ve said all along that DHS had no authority to adopt this rule, which is just another Bush anti-worker initiative.”

DHS emphasizes that it is not abandoning the rule entirely but merely modifying it to meet the judge’s concerns.