The Justice Department's (DOJ) Civil Rights Division and the Labor Department (DOL) released a memorandum of understanding Tuesday, announcing the agencies' joint effort to target companies that exhibit "unlawful discrimination" against American workers by hiring foreign labor. These employers, often times, hire cheap foreign labor through the H-1B and H-2B visa programs.
Under the memorandum, the DOJ and DOL will share information on specific employers, exchange staff training between departments, and relay issues to appropriate department officials between agencies.
Acting Assistant Attorney General John Gore said in a statement that the agreement would aid in the "ability to identify employers [that] favor temporary visa holders over U.S. workers who can do the job."
"Employers should hire workers based on their skills, experience, and authorization to work; not based on discriminatory preferences that violate the law," he said.
The memorandum comes a month after the DOL's release of the 2018 jobs report, which shows that while employment for foreign workers in the U.S. increased by 3%, employment for American workers increased a little less than 1.5%.
Deputy Assistant Secretary for the DOL's Employment and Training Admin. Rosemary Lahasky stated that sharing information between the agencies "will help protect U.S. workers from unlawful discrimination."
Additionally, the agreement comes a week after an analysis by the National Foundation for American Policy (NFAP) found that U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) is denying more petitions for foreign workers in the STEM fields. H-1B visa denials increased 41% from the 3rd to the 4th quarter of FY 2017, rising from a 15.9% denial rate in the 3rd quarter to 22.4% in the 4th quarter. NFAP attributed this to changes the agency implemented after Pres. Trump signed his "Buy American, Hire American" executive order in April of last year.
Both the DOJ and DOL said the purpose of the joint agreement is "to better protect U.S. workers from discrimination by employers that prefer to hire temporary visa workers over qualified U.S. workers."
For more on this story, see The Hill.
Updated: Wed, Aug 15th 2018 @ 12:50pm EDT