Aero Precision is a firearm maker based in Washington state. Yesterday, the company reached a settlement with the Justice Department to resolve claims that it had a policy of unlawfully screening out certain non-U.S. citizen job candidates, including asylees and refugees, which is a violation of the Immigration and Nationality Act (INA).
A DOJ investigation found that, from at least April 2020 until September 2020, Aero Precision routinely implemented a hiring policy that screened out eligible candidates who were not U.S. citizens or lawful permanent residents.
Firearm manufacturers in the U.S. are subject to the International Traffic in Arms Regulations (ITAR), which regulate specific exports of defense articles and services. Unless companies have authorization from the state department, employers subject to ITAR must limit access to sensitive information to "U.S. persons," which are defined as U.S. citizens, U.S. nationals, lawful permanent residents, asylees and refugees.
As a result, ITAR doesn't authorize or require employers to exclude asylees and refugees from consideration and hire only U.S. citizens and lawful permanent residents. By limiting hiring to just U.S. citizens and lawful permanent residents, Aero Precision placed unnecessary hiring restrictions on its workforce, according to the the DOJ.
Asylees and refugees have the same eligibility to work in jobs involving access to sensitive defense-related information as U.S. citizens, and would have to pass the same background check as other employees if an employer requires one.
Under the settlement, Aero Precision must train staff on the requirements of the INA’s anti-discrimination provision, review its policies to ensure compliance with relevant law and be subject to departmental monitoring and reporting requirements.
The Civil Rights Division’s Immigrant and Employee Rights Section (IER) enforces the anti-discrimination provision of the INA. The statute prohibits discrimination based on citizenship status and national origin in hiring, firing or recruitment or referral for a fee; unfair documentary practices; and retaliation and intimidation.
Industrial Equipment News reached out to Aero Precision, but they have not yet responded to our request for comment.