WASHINGTON: The US Justice Department sued Elon Musk-owned rocket and satellite company SpaceX on Thursday for allegedly discriminating against asylum seekers and refugees in hiring.

“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 Justice Department said in a statement.

In job postings and public statements over several years, SpaceX wrongly claimed that under federal regulations known as export control laws, SpaceX could hire only US citizens and lawful permanent residents, sometimes referred to as “green card holders,” the Justice Department said.

The Justice Department also pointed to online posts from the company’s billionaire owner Musk as example of “discriminatory public statements.”

The lawsuit cited a June 2020 post on X, formerly called Twitter, by CEO Musk to his then 36 million followers that said: “US law requires at least a green card to be hired at SpaceX, as rockets are advanced weapons technology.” SpaceX did not immediately respond to a request for comment on the lawsuit.

Published in Dawn, August 25th, 2023

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