Changing Focus

Department of Justice fi les suit against Colorado company alleging discrimination against American workers

A Loveland-based agricultural company is on the Department of Justice’s radar in a new lawsuit filed Sept. 28, alleging the company violated the Immigration and Nationality Act by discriminating against U.S. workers in favor of hiring temporary foreign workers. U.S. Attorney General Jeff Sessions cited President Donald Trump’s Buy American and Hire American executive order as support.

“The Department of Justice will not tolerate employers who discriminate against U.S. workers because of a desire to hire temporary foreign visa holders,” Sessions said in a news release. “The Justice Department will enforce the Immigration and Nationality Act in order to protect U.S. workers as they are the very backbone of our communities and our economy.”

Immigration attorneys say the significance of United States v. Crop Production Services, Inc. lies not in its potential to set new precedent, but rather in its representation of a shift in the Department of Justice’s focus on immigration regulation enforcement under the Trump administration.

“They are, instead of going after … cases where employers were exploiting immigrant labor, they’re moving toward a focus of employers hiring immigrant labor instead of immigrant labor,” said Leon Fresco, an immigration attorney and partner at Holland & Knight in the firm’s Washington, D.C. office. He explained employers now cannot only focus on showing a need for immigrant labor, but also need to make sure they are not taking actions that American workers could use to allege preference for foreign employees.

To read this story and other complete articles featured in the October 16, 2017 print edition of Law Week Colorado, copies are available for purchase online.