SpaceX Wins Anti-Migrant Bias Case

CAPE CANAVERAL, FLORIDA - MARCH 02: The SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket stands on launch pad 39A of NASA's Kennedy Space Center on March 02, 2024 in Cape Canaveral, Florida. The rocket is scheduled to launch four astronauts, called Crew-8, on March 2nd at 11:16 pm, to the International Space Center. | Photo by Joe Raedle/Getty Images

SpaceX and Walmart have scored significant judicial victories against the Department of Justice, with courts declaring that the government’s method for determining whether the companies discriminated against migrants in favor of citizens violates the Constitution.

Two separate federal court judges ruled that the DOJ’s process for prosecuting companies for employment discrimination against migrants through the decisions of administrative law judges (ALJs) was unconstitutional.

ALJs make factual and legal determinations in cases involving administrative law and are part of the executive branch of the federal government instead of the judicial branch.

As The Dallas Express reported when the lawsuit against SpaceX was filed, the DOJ claimed Elon Musk’s company “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.”

However, SpaceX countered with its own suit against the DOJ in the U.S. District Court in the Southern District of Texas, seeking to invalidate the ALJ proceedings on constitutional grounds. In November, the court ruled that having ALJs hear citizenship bias cases is likely unconstitutional and temporarily blocked the DOJ’s case against SpaceX pending the lawsuit’s outcome, Bloomberg Law reported.

Then, in March, a judge in the Southern District of Georgia ruled similarly in retail giant Walmart’s suit seeking to invalidate the decisions of the DOJ on immigration law violations by issuing a permanent injunction against the government from continuing with the ALJ proceedings, per Bloomberg Law.

Though the decisions are not binding nationally, legal experts say the decisions will seriously weaken the government’s administrative law enforcement.

“There are huge institutional interests at stake here because Congress delegated this specific authority to enforce the worksite enforcement both from a matter of civil rights and from a matter of not hiring undocumented workers, to the Department of Justice,” said Leon Fresco, who headed the DOJ’s Office of Immigration Litigation for the Obama administration, per Bloomberg. “To the extent the Department of Justice is unable to carry out that function, this will be extremely damaging.”

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