Need another example of how the Biden administration refuses to play by the same rules as everyone else?
The Department of Justice has filed an administrative complaint against tech firm SpaceX for alleged discrimination for refusing to hire “asylees and refugees” from 2018 to 2022. But don’t look too closely, because the Biden Justice Department won’t hire such people either.
The complaint was filed with the Justice Department’s Executive Office for Immigration Review, not in federal court. That means that an administrative hearing officer working for the Justice Department will act as the supposedly impartial “judge” determining the merits of the complaint filed by the same Justice Department—specifically, the Immigrant and Employee Rights Section of the Civil Rights Division. That division is headed by Kristen Clarke, a radical political appointee.
SpaceX is developing and building rockets and spacecraft using the newest, most advanced technology. In fact, as Justice Department lawyers are forced to admit in their complaint, the innovative technology being developed by SpaceX makes it subject to the export controls imposed by International Traffic in Arms Regulations, as well as Export Administration Regulations.
These regulations are intended to prevent advanced U.S. software, technology and technical data from falling into the hands of hostile and dangerous foreign governments and adversaries—the same ones that some “asylees and refugees” often come from. And because some of these asylum-seekers and refugees come from countries hostile to our interests, it is often difficult, if not impossible, to conduct any kind of comprehensive security background check.
The law that SpaceX is alleged to have violated, 8 U.S.C. §1324b, makes it illegal “to discriminate against any individual [except for illegal immigrants] with respect to the hiring, or recruitment or referral for a fee, of the individual for employment or the discharging of the individual from employment … because of such individual’s citizenship status.”
In other words, if someone is a non-U.S. citizen who is in the country legally and has a work authorization from the Department of Homeland Security, that person cannot be discriminated against in the employment context.
There are some big exceptions, however. For example, one section of the law specifically provides that it is not a violation of the statute to “hire, recruit or refer an individual who is a citizen or national of the United States over another individual who is an alien if the two individuals are equally qualified.”
Asylees and refugees are aliens who by definition are not U.S. citizens. So if SpaceX hired equally qualified Americans in the time period at issue, that and that alone decides this case in favor of SpaceX.
There is also an exception that allows the hiring of only U.S. citizens if it is required “in order to comply with law, regulation, or executive order, or required by federal, state, or local government contract, or which the attorney general determines to be essential for an employer to do business with an agency or department of the federal, state or local government.”
SpaceX is being attacked by the Justice Department because it has “repeatedly said publicly that they can only hire U.S. citizens and lawful permanent residents because of export control laws and regulations.”
In other words, because SpaceX is worried about its advanced technology getting into the hands of U.S. adversaries such as China, it has been trying to hire only U.S. citizens and permanent resident aliens.
Given the advanced software, hardware and space technology involved in every aspect of SpaceX’s work, requiring citizenship seems like a commonsense security precaution. This is particularly important given that the Biden administration has been ignoring the restrictions governing asylum and basically granting mass asylum as a general policy since President Biden took office.
The federal government certainly thinks that citizenship is a basic requirement for security. If you want to work for the FBI, the agency’s website says that you “must be a United States citizen.”
And don’t apply to NASA unless you are a U.S. citizen, a U.S. national, or someone “who owes allegiance to the U.S.,” which certainly does not cover aliens.
Want to be the lawyer at the Justice Department? You must be a U.S. citizen, as a current job listing on the USAJOBS website for a position in the Civil Rights Division explains.
If an employer voluntarily hires an alien legally in the country who is permitted to work, no one questions that employers should not be able to discriminate against that employee in wages, benefits and the other aspects of employment.
Nor should employers be prohibited from doing what is best for “the general welfare” of Americans—hiring U.S. citizens over visitors to our country, who certainly include foreign nationals working in the high-tech industry and in companies developing advanced space technology.
This complaint should be summarily dismissed by the administrative law judge. The Biden administration created this immigration mess on purpose. And now it is trying to force a private company engaged in sensitive national security work to hire newly arrived and unvetted asylum seekers and refugees over otherwise qualified Americans.
This piece originally appeared in The Washington Times