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US Department of Justice Sues Elon Musk

elon musk clasping his hands with a concerned or concentrated look
Elon Musk is getting sued by the US Department of Justice. Credit: Daniel Oberhaus / Flickr / CC BY 2.0

The Justice Department of the United States sued Elon Musk‘s company SpaceX on Thursday. The space company that produces rockets and satellites was accused of discriminating against refugees and asylum-seekers in the hiring process.

“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.

The Justice Department revealed that, over the years, the company’s job postings and statements have claimed that, under federal regulations, SpaceX can only hire US citizens and residents with a green card.

Elon Musk Hits Back

As recently as June 2020, CEO of SpaceX Elon Musk posted on X, the social media website previously known as Twitter, that “U.S. law requires at least a green card to be hired at SpaceX, as rockets are advanced weapons technology,” something the Justice Department declares a “discriminatory public statement…” According to the Department, this is simply not valid.

The tycoon and SpaceX CEO did not immediately issue a response. Eventually, Elon Musk hit back on social media platform X:

SpaceX was 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.

He claimed that, as a result of regulations on the dissemination of sensitive information, he couldn’t even hire Canadian citizens.

“This is yet another case of weaponization of the DOJ for political purposes,” he announced. He also added that “the weaponization of government agencies needs to stop. This fundamentally undermines public faith in the justice system.”

 US Export Laws

American companies that work in sensitive markets and goods, such as rockets or spacecraft can be weaponized and are required to follow regulations clarifying specifically who may be hired and in what manner. These regulations include export control laws and the International Traffic in Arms Regulations, or ITAR.

According to export control laws, officially known as Export Administration Regulation (EAR), “license requirements may apply to some items. A certain commodity classification request may be submitted in order to obtain assistance in determining how an item is controlled.”

There are, in accordance with ITAR, constraints on the dissemination of critical information related to launch systems for rockets and missiles that American companies are working on. These constraints apply to the hiring of foreign employees, as access to sensitive information requires additional measures for heightened national security.

The tycoon has been at odds with the Biden administration since the purchase of Twitter in October 2022. He has also published information regarding alleged FBI conspiracies in regards to the control of the flow of information on social media. The recent reactivation of Donald Trump’s account on the platform has also surely not been beneficial for Musk’s companies.

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