Departments of Justice and State Partner to Protect U.S. Workers from Discrimination and Combat Fraud
The Departments of Justice and State announced today that they have formalized a partnership aimed at protecting U.S. workers from discrimination and combatting fraud by employers that misuse visas. The partnership, memorialized by a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) between the Department of Justice’s Civil Rights Division and the Department of State’s Bureau of Consular Affairs, facilitates information sharing in an effort to help each agency advance its mission.
Under the MOU, the Civil Rights Division and the Bureau of Consular Affairs will share information about 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 agencies will also provide each other with technical assistance and training to encourage complaint referrals and effective collaboration.
The Civil Rights Division’s Immigrant and Employee Rights Section (IER), formerly known as the Office of Special Counsel for Immigration-Related Unfair Employment Practices, enforces the anti-discrimination provision of the Immigration and Nationality Act (INA). The provision prohibits, among other things, citizenship and national origin discrimination in hiring, firing, or recruiting.
In February 2017, IER launched its Protecting U.S. Workers Initiative, an initiative aimed at targeting, investigating, and bringing enforcement actions against companies that discriminate against U.S. workers in favor of foreign visa workers. The Initiative filed its first lawsuit last week against a Loveland, Colorado company for allegedly discriminating against U.S. workers.
“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. The Division welcomes the Department of State as a partner in this effort.”
“The Department of State’s Bureau of Consular Affairs is pleased to have joined forces with the Department of Justice to protect U.S. workers, combat fraud, and facilitate legitimate international travel,” said Assistant Secretary of State for Consular Affairs, Carl C. Risch.
For more information about protections against employment discrimination under immigration laws, call IER’s worker hotline at 1-800-255-7688 (1-800-237-2515, TTY for hearing impaired); call IER’s employer hotline at 1-800-255-8155 (1-800-237-2515, TTY for hearing impaired); sign up for a free webinar; email IER@usdoj.gov; or visit IER’s English and Spanish websites. Applicants or employees who believe they were subjected to discrimination based on their citizenship, immigration status or national origin in hiring, firing, recruitment or referral, or during the employment eligibility verification process (Form I-9 and E-Verify), should contact IER’s worker hotline for assistance.
For additional information on U.S. visas and other U.S. consular services, please see the State Department's website at travel.state.gov.