- The Washington Times - Wednesday, October 11, 2017

The Justice Department and State Department announced a new formal partnership Wednesday to aid in investigation of employers that discriminate against American workers and fraudulently use foreign worker visas.

Under the agreement, the Justice Department will share information it has on employers that have abused foreign worker visa programs, and the State Department will share data it collects on nonimmigrant and immigrant visas.

The information sharing agreement is meant to protect U.S. workers by better identifying employers “that may be engaging in unlawful discrimination, committing fraud, or making other misrepresentations in their use of employment-based visas, such as H-1B, H-2A, and H-2B visas,” the Justice Department said in a statement.

“Employers that discriminate against qualified U.S. workers by favoring foreign visa workers will be held accountable,” said Acting Assistant Attorney General John M. Gore of the Civil Rights Division. “Today’s agreement reflects the Civil Rights Division’s commitment to use all available tools, including collaboration with other federal agencies, to protect U.S. workers from discrimination.”

It’s illegal for employers to discriminate against workers or applicants based on citizenship or national origin and within the DOJ, the Civil Rights Division’s Immigrant and Employee Rights Section already investigates discrimination cases involving foreign workers.

Earlier this year, the DOJ announced that a Louisiana company paid out more than $100,000 as part of a settlement to a group of American workers who were passed over for jobs so foreign nationals could be hired in their place through a work visa program.

The DOJ also filed a lawsuit last month against a company it said discriminated against at least three U.S. workers who it refused to hire, instead preferring to hire temporary foreign workers under the H-2A visa program. The visa program requires companies to recruit and hire qualified American workers before hiring temporary foreign workers.

The DOJ complaint, filed against Crop Production, says the company required American workers to meet more burdensome requirements, including drug tests and background checks, in order to discourage them from working at an El Campo, Texas-based facility. The foreign workers hired under the visa program were allowed to start work without completing the checks or in some cases never completed them at all.

All 15 of the available seasonal technician jobs available at the facility in 2016 went to foreign workers, the complaint states.

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