DOJ SpaceX Suit Is Labor Day Travesty

DOJ SpaceX Suit Is Labor Day Travesty

By Joe Guzzardi

President Biden’s Justice Department (DOJ) has filed a lawsuit against SpaceX, the Elon Musk-founded company. In its 13-page complaint, DOJ alleges that SpaceX “discriminated against asylees and refugees throughout its hiring process, including during recruiting, screening, and selection, in violation of the Immigration and Nationality Act.” The case’s outcome will be a landmark in corporate, immigration and labor law.

DOJ contends that from September 2018 to May 2022 the privately owned space company discouraged asylees and refugees from applying for positions “by wrongly stating that SpaceX can only hire U.S. citizens and lawful permanent residents.” DOJ further argues that Space X’s illegal hiring policies were “routine, widespread, and longstanding, and harmed asylees and refugees.”

For its part, SpaceX countered that because the company designs, manufacturers and launches advanced rockets and spacecraft, it can only hire U.S. citizens and lawful permanent residents, pursuant to U.S. laws and regulations. A complex series of federal laws and regulations govern SpaceX and its competitors. Known as “Export Controls,” the regulations are comprised of the ITAR (International Traffic in Arms Regulations) and EAR (Export Administration Regulations) and collectively administered by the Departments of Commerce, State and Treasury. Export Controls are “designed to prevent the spread of sensitive technologies to foreign actors that could threaten U.S. interests... [These] controlled technologies include defense articles, e.g., missiles, defense services, e.g., integration of a spacecraft onto a launcher, and dual-use items, e.g., commercial spacecraft and components.”

“Foreign actors that could threaten U.S. interests” deserves further analysis. Bona fide asylum seekers who filed an Application for Asylum, Form I-589, but have not received approval within 180 days, qualify for a work permit, and employment despite potentially being in the U.S. illegally. Refugees admitted legally must apply for permanent residency within a year of arrival or are subject to deportation, but are immediately employable.

Through a non-lawyer’s eyes, Musk and his SpaceX legal team appear to have the stronger hand. In Musk’s defense and in support of hiring citizens only, recent asylees and refugees include foreign nationals from Syria, Afghanistan, Russia, Cuba, Iraq, Somalia and Iran, active or potential U.S. enemies. Furthermore, SpaceX contends it can’t hire non-U.S. citizens because it must comply with the above-referenced export control restrictions.

Musk also cited a current Executive Order 11935, and called upon the DOJ to sue itself for its seemingly, in view of its suit against SpaceX, discriminatory hiring practices. As per the EO, “only United States citizens and nationals” can be hired for federal jobs. As an example of the feds discrimination against SpaceX, a post on X, formerly known as Twitter, cited a tweet by economist George Mason University economics professor Alex Tabarrok, who pointed out that the job requirements for the federal Bureau of Prisons specify “U.S. citizenship is required.” Musk concluded, correctly, that DOJ’s action is “yet another case of weaponization of the DOJ for political purposes.”

The most foreboding challenge SpaceX faces is the Biden administration’s contemptible disregard for federal law. The administration is particularly willing and eager to break immigration law. For nearly two years, Biden and his corrupt Department of Homeland Security Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas have unconstitutionally sanctioned granting parole, which includes work permission, to thousands of unvetted worldwide migrants.

In 1952, Congress granted the Executive Branch parole authority, which “should be surrounded with strict limitations … in emergency cases, such as the case of an alien who requires immediate medical attention … and a witness or for purposes of prosecution.” Instead of obeying congressionally passed law – the absolute minimum Americans should expect from their president – Biden has paroled en masse unvetted aliens who are inadmissible under any immigration category.

The sad but unsurprising truth is that, given what’s known about Biden and his anti-American agenda, DOJ is suing SpaceX because Musk’s company wants to hire U.S. citizens.

Joe Guzzardi is a Project for Immigration Reform analyst who has written about immigration for more than 30 years. Contact him at

DOJ SpaceX Suit Is Labor Day Travesty

DOJ SpaceX Suit Is Labor Day Travesty

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