When the Social Security Administration started sending "no-match" letters like the one Meg Whitman received, my phone started ringing off the hook. I am talking LITERALLY 15-20 calls a day. We were fielding so many calls at that time that my colleague even wrote a book and created a Website (http://employersanctions.com) to educate the public about the consequences of the no match letter.
The first paragraph of that site, which was created circa 2006 (three years after the Whitman's received their letter) states, "If your company has received a letter from the Social Security Administration or the IRS stating that the Social Security number for one of your employees does not match their records, you need immediate legal advice. Any Human Resources Manager who has received a Social Security Administration No-match letter should insist upon an Internal I-9 Audit. Potential fines for non-compliance for the entire staff of the Human Resources department, not to mention possible criminal prosecution for knowingly employing illegal workers, are simply too severe to risk."
And who was calling us? Everyone. Company owners with 50 employees, housewives with a maid, celebrities worried about their personal assistants, gardeners with a couple of crews. You name it. And what advice did they get? If your employee is not authorized to work, the law requires that you cease to employ them. It turns out a lot of the employees were eligible for other things, but after April 30, 2001 unless the alien employee had already applied for something, there was nothing at all an employer could do to help.
So, you tell me, why did thousands of other employers who got a no-match letters consult with counsel? Because the letter was intended to put employers on notice that their employee or employees may not be authorized to work. When someone else's social security number is used for the payment of wages, who is responsible for the taxes on those earnings? The poor shmuck whose number was used. The letter was intended to help our citizen, not to flush out illegal aliens. But Meg Whitman didn't care any more about the citizen she was hurting than she does about the woman she described as being "like a member of our family." (I count my blessings that I'm not from THAT family.)
If someone sent a letter to your home telling you that your new roommate was an axe-murderer, would you give that letter to your roommate and say, "Hey, take care of this?" Well, we might say, there's a difference between being an axe-murderer and accepting employment without authorization. A big, big difference. But in the end analysis notice is notice and you are either a criminal and a liar or you are not. Whitman should not pretend that neither she nor her highly educated husband did not understand the intent of the no-match letter. Farmers and mechanics and gardeners understood it. If they didn't understand the letter, they are unspeakably stupid. If they did understand it, which I know they did, then they are liars and criminals. End of Story.
In either event, these are not the people who should be running the State.