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Labour market access
On September 28, 2017 the Justice Department filed a lawsuit against Crop Production Services Inc., headquartered in Loveland, Colorado, for allegedly discriminating against U.S. workers in violation of the Immigration and Nationality Act (INA). The complaint alleges that in 2016, Crop Production discriminated against at least three citizens by refusing to employ them as seasonal technicians in El Campo, Texas, because Crop Production preferred to hire temporary foreign workers under the H-2A visa program. According to the department’s complaint, Crop Production imposed more burdensome requirements on U.S. citizens than it did on H-2A visa workers to discourage U.S. citizens from working at the facility (e.g., the complaint alleges that whereas U.S. citizens had to complete a background check and a drug test before being permitted to start work, H-2A workers were allowed to begin working without completing them). The complaint also alleges that Crop Production refused to consider a limited-English proficient U.S. citizen for employment but hired H-2A workers who could not speak English. According to the suit, all of Crop Production’s 15 available seasonal technician jobs in 2016 went to H-2A workers instead of U.S. workers.
The case represents a significant change in the enforcement of the INA, and may be intended to have a broader impact on the calculations of firms that might be considering the hiring of foreign workers.
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