The United States Department of Justice (DOJ) has issued a statement announcing that they filed a lawsuit against Elon Musk’s SpaceX alleging that it has discriminatory hiring practices when it comes to people in the US seeking asylum.
“The lawsuit alleges that, from at least September 2018 to May 2022, SpaceX routinely discouraged asylees and refugees from applying and refused to hire or consider them, because of their citizenship status, in violation of the Immigration and Nationality Act,” the DOJ statement read.
According to Reuters, in their job posting and other statements over the past few years, SpaceX has said that federal regulations required them to hire only U.S. citizens and lawful permanent residents. But the Justice Department says that assertion is wrong.
The department also pointed to social media posts of Elon Musk as of the alleged discrimination, primarily a post on X (formerly known as Twitter, banned in Russia) from June 2020. Musk posted, “U.S. law requires a green card to be hired at SpaceX, as rockets are advanced weapons technology.”
In speaking out about the lawsuit, the SpaceX CEO and owner of X, wrote that they were “told repeatedly that hiring anyone who was not a permanent resident of the United States would violate international arms trafficking law, which would be a criminal offense.”
Musk also believes that the lawsuit is is just another example of the “weaponization of the DOJ for political purposes.”
But the DOJ says that the practices are a violation of asylum seeker and refugee’s civil rights. Kristen Clarke, Assistant Attorney General with the Civil Rights Division, pointed to an investigation into SpaceX by the DOJ.
It is also important to note that non-citizens are ineligible to work at NASA. While that restriction is allowed because NASA is a independent government agency, they do sub-contract work out to to SpaceX.