Facebook Accused by Trump Administration of H-1B Visa Abuse

The Trump administration claimsFacebook Inc. is discriminating against U.S. workers by reserving thousands of positions for foreigners with temporary H-1B visas.

The company “refused to recruit, consider, or hire qualified and available U.S. workers for over 2,600 positions” and instead offered the jobs — with an average salary of $156,000 — to non-citizens that it sponsored for permanent work authorizations with green cards, according a statement issued Thursday by the civil rights division of the Justice Department.

The complaint comes after judges have blocked efforts by President Donald Trump to halt access to several employment-based visas, part of Trump’s broader agenda to prioritize filling positions at U.S. companies with Americans. The administration is also moving to curtail legal protections for internet platforms amid complaints by the president and other Republicans that Facebook, Twitter and Google engage in censorship targeting conservative viewpoints.

Facebook said it has been cooperating with the Justice Department.

“While we dispute the allegations in the complaint, we cannot comment further on pending litigation,” the company said in a statement.

Instead of filing the case in federal court, the Justice Department lodged the complaint with its own Executive Office of Immigration Review, where it will be reviewed by an administrative law judge. The director of the office is appointed by the U.S. attorney general.

The case is part of a 2017 initiative by the department targeting companies that discriminate against U.S. workers, according to the department’s statement.

“Facebook engaged in intentional and widespread violations of the law, by setting aside positions for temporary visa holders instead of considering interested and qualified U.S. workers,” Assistant Attorney General Eric S. Dreiband said in thestatement.

The Justice Department seeks an order compelling Facebook to change its practices as well as civil penalties plus back pay, including interest, for workers who were discriminated against, according to thecomplaint.

— With assistance by Sarah Frier

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