Americans Need Not Apply At One Texas Farm Company

Evan Gahr Investigative Journalist
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Folks beating the drum for open borders and amnesty insist that immigrants take jobs native-born Americans won’t touch.

But a Texas farm company that hired Mexicans instead of Americans was just zapped by the Obama Justice Department, of all things.

The DOJ quietly announced this week its lawsuit victory over Estopy Farms for denying employment to an American named Enrique Romero in 2010.

An administrative law judge ruled that the company illegally passed over Romero in favor of Mexican nationals it recruited under the H-2A visa program for temporary or seasonal agricultural employees. Foreigners are issued H-2A visas to work in the United States for companies that certify there are no Americans willing, able and qualified to do the job.

In May 2010, Estopy Farms sought permission from Texas to hire 14 H-2A workers as cotton machine operators.

The next month, Romero, who had worked as an agricultural machine operator for 14 years interviewed for the same job. Estopy Farms owner Jerry Estopy promised he could start in a few weeks but then went AWOL.

The Texas Workforce Commission subsequently told Romero that everyone eventually hired for the seasonal jobs were H-2A workers from Mexico. The Immigration and Nationality Act prohibits discrimination in employment based on citizenship.

“U.S. workers are not to be discriminated against in favor of foreign workers,” ruled Administrative Judge Law Ellen Thomas. “That is precisely what happened here.”

Acting Assistant Attorney General for Civil Rights Vanita Gupta said in a statement that, “Companies cannot manipulate visa programs to discriminate against U.S. workers because of their citizenship. This ruling sends a strong message to all employers that discrimination against U.S. workers will not be tolerated.”

Judge Thomas gave the DOJ until next month to request civil monetary penalties and other remedial actions against Estopy.