In the Aug. 24 complaint, the DOJ alleged that the California-based SpaceX discouraged refugees and asylum seekers from applying to open positions and refused to hire those that did. The company's hiring practices that were allegedly detrimental to asylum seekers and refugees "were routine, widespread and longstanding," it added.
SpaceX job postings indicated that only U.S. citizens and lawful permanent residents could apply for openings. The complaint claimed that between 2018 and 2022, the company "wrongly claimed" export control laws limited its hiring to the two categories. "Export control laws and regulations do not prohibit or restrict employers from hiring asylees and refugees; those laws treat asylees and refugees just like U.S. citizens," the lawsuit argued.
According to CNBC, the Justice Department has been investigating SpaceX since June 2020. Its probe began when the DOJ's Immigrant and Employee Rights Section received a complaint of employment discrimination
Kristen Clarke, assistant attorney general of the DOJ's Civil Rights Division, said in a statement: "Our investigation found that SpaceX failed to fairly consider or hire asylees and refugees because of their citizenship status and imposed what amounted to a ban on their hire regardless of their qualification, in violation of federal law."
She added that the Justice Department's investigation found that "SpaceX recruiters and high-level officials took actions that actively discouraged asylees and refugees from seeking work opportunities at the company." SpaceX did not immediately respond to a request for comment sent by CNBC.
The complaint cited a 2020 tweet from the SpaceX CEO as evidence, which stated that U.S. law "requires at least a green card" to be hired at SpaceX since rockets are "advanced weapons and technology." During a 2016 conference, Musk said a normal work visa wouldn't be sufficient to work at SpaceX unless the defense secretary or secretary of state grants it "special permission."
However, the company's alleged discrimination appears to be grounded in a national security law – particularly the International Traffic in Arms Regulations (ITAR). A September 2016 piece in Popular Mechanics expounded on this matter.
It recounted Musk's appearance during the 67th International Astronautical Congress in Mexico held at the time. A Russian woman in the audience asked him about hiring people outside the United States. In response, the SpaceX CEO said that while he would like to bring international talent, American laws prevent him from doing so.
The piece then expounded on ITAR, a "bedrock of national security" guaranteeing that Musk can only go for homegrown talent.
"The basics of these regulations are pretty simple: Information about military technology is to be limited to citizens and U.S.-based companies. ITAR regulates possible dual-use technology like rocket launches and makes working at space launch companies off-limits to non-U.S. citizens," the piece elaborated.
"When sensitive information is being bandied about, the government wants to keep companies inside the U.S. where they can be better vetted. In an age of byzantine networks of contractors and subcontractors, it seems like a prudent measure to ensure the U.S. doesn't hire, say, a Chinese firm that may be interested in an advanced warplane design." (Related: An even greater danger: China claims to have launched world's first 6G satellite.)
True enough, the U.S. Department of State can grant an exemption to ITAR rules. Companies that violate the rules, however, are subject to hefty fines. It can also harm firms trying to win government contracts in the future.
The importance of ITAR in national security flies over the head of the DOJ under the Biden administration. But this isn't surprising at all, given that the current regime favors illegals and cares little about national security.
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Watch this Russia Today report about SpaceX launching 46 satellites into low Earth orbit.
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