Passive DoJ Agency Does Another Wrist-Slap for Discrimination Against Citizens

By David North on December 20, 2022

There’s a small agency within the Justice Department’s Civil Rights Division that is supposed to police discrimination against aliens (which it does 85 percent of the time) and against citizens (which it does about 15 percent of the time). It is called the Immigrant and Employee Rights Section (IER).

This summer, it got out a big press release on its most recent victory: It managed to secure $14,165 in back wages paid to two citizens who were not hired to harvest sweet corn.

This week, it rolled out another big press release on its most recent victory: a settlement with an Indian-run job shop (a firm that rents out foreign workers to other companies) that had been posting ads for a year about jobs for nonimmigrant workers only (such as H-1Bs), thus discouraging citizens from applying.

The organization is in Edison Township, N.J. (near New Brunswick); it is Secureapp Technologies and it filed for 65 H1-Bs in the last three years, thus getting about 22 of them, according to Myvisajobs, and thus being a middle-sized job shop. Typically, an employer gets about a third of the H-1B slots it requests.

This time IER settled with the employer — that had blocked many citizens from jobs — and got a measly $26,000 in civil penalties. Settling such cases through negotiations is much easier for the agency than inflicting a penalty on an employer, and IER routinely settles.

One of the effective tools that IER could use, if it had the gumption, would be to debar the offending employer from using the H-1B program, just as the Labor Department does in a small number of cases. DoL denies such employers the right to hire H-1B employees for two or three years, forcing those employers to (gasp!) to hire citizens or green card holders to do their work. Why doesn’t IER do the same thing?

It would send a strong message that discriminating against citizens may be hard on a firm’s profit-and-loss statements.

A variation of the penalty would be to lay on a year’s debarment and say that the employer, after a year, could rejoin the H-1B program, but only as long as at least one citizen had been employed by the offending firm, that the citizen or another one must stay on the payroll at a wage comparable to that paid to the H-1Bs and have a comparable skill set, and that the citizen could not be married or be a blood relative of anyone working for, or owning, the job shop. In that way, the erring employer would be forced to participate in the American labor market.

We calculated earlier, based on years of IER press releases, that 85 percent of the agency’s work is with law-abiding employers who have asked for one or more extra documents than called for as these employers tried to obey federal hiring requirements; in only 15 percent of the press releases were citizens the victims.