DoJ sues SpaceX over hiring bias against asylum seekers, refugees

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The U.S. Department of Justice has filed a lawsuit against SpaceX, accusing the company of discrimination against asylum seekers and refugees in its hiring practices. The lawsuit claims that from September 2018 to May 2022, SpaceX routinely discouraged and refused to hire asylees and refugees based on their citizenship status, which violates the Immigration and Nationality Act. The Department of Justice also highlighted statements made by Elon Musk, SpaceX’s CEO, as evidence of discriminatory behavior. In a tweet from June 2020, Musk stated that a green card is required for employment at SpaceX because rockets are considered advanced weapons technology. However, the Department of Justice argues that U.S. export control laws do not restrict SpaceX from hiring individuals based on their citizenship or immigration status.

The lawsuit alleges that SpaceX inaccurately claimed in job postings and public statements that it could only hire U.S. citizens and lawful permanent residents (green card holders) due to federal export control laws. The Department of Justice argues that this was a misinterpretation of the laws and that SpaceX wrongly excluded asylees and refugees from consideration. The lawsuit seeks to hold SpaceX accountable for its alleged discriminatory practices and to ensure compliance with the Immigration and Nationality Act.

SpaceX, along with other companies involved in space and defense-related work, is subject to U.S. export control laws that regulate the sharing of data and hardware. However, the Department of Justice asserts that these laws do not restrict the hiring of individuals based on their citizenship or immigration status. By filing this lawsuit, the Department of Justice aims to address and rectify the alleged discrimination against asylees and refugees in SpaceX’s hiring practices.

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