A federal judge Oct. 1 extended an order temporarily blocking the government from implementing the new Dept. of Homeland Security's "no-match" rule for another 10 days. Judge Charles R. Breyer from the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of California is expected to issue an opinion in the case some time within that 10-day period.

The order also prohibits the Social Security Administration from notifying approximately 140,000 employers across the country about the new rule, which had been set to go into effect Sept. 14.

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In an unusual pairing, both organized labor and business groups are opposing the rule, which would require employers that receive "no-match" letters from the Social Security Administration to fire workers if they are unable to resolve the discrepancy within 90 days.

The court issued the temporary restraining orders in response to a lawsuit filed in August by the AFL-CIO, the American Civil Liberties Union and several other labor and immigration groups., the U.S. Chamber and several other business-oriented trade groups joined the lawsuit. The Chamber's director of immigration policy, Angelo Amador, says he is "cautiously optimistic" that the judge will rule in favor of the plaintiffs, based on the judge's line of questioning.

Amador says it is not clear that the Dept. of Homeland Security even has the legal authority to issue the regulations, and that the agency "didn't do a full analysis about how much this will cost small businesses."

AFL-CIO President John Sweeney, also says he is pleased with the order. "More than 70% of Social Security Administration discrepancies refer to U.S. citizens but the DHS regulation would encourage employers to fire any worker based on these erroneous discrepancies, especially if she has an accent or is perceived to be foreign born," he says.