SAN FRANCISCO, Oct. 10 (UPI) -- A federal judge in San Francisco Wednesday blocked a Bush administration plan to force employers to fire up to 8.7 million illegal alien workers.
The government planned to mail up to 140,000 letters to businesses warning employers they must resolve the issue of employees with suspect Social Security numbers. Homeland Security Security Secretary Michael Chertoff announced the plan Aug. 10, saying employers could face fines and even criminal prosecution for knowingly employing illegal workers.
But U.S. District Judge Charles R. Breyer issued a preliminary injunction, saying the letters would have would have a "staggering" impact on legal workers and their employers, The Washington Post reported.
Breyer wrote in his 22-page opinion that the plan "would subject employers to greater compliance costs and employees to an increased risk of termination." He cited the 1980 Regulatory Flexibility Act, which is designed to protect small-businesses from government red tape.
The Los Angeles Times said the injunction will stay in place until Breyer holds further hearings to decide whether to outlaw the proposed rule permanently.
The plan was opposed in court by an unusual coalition that included the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, the AFL-CIO and the American Civil Liberties Union.
Breyer is the brother of U.S. Supreme Court Justice Stephen Breyer.