Industry News

GM Settlement Demonstrates Difficulty of Navigating Export Controls and Immigration Law

Apr. 26, 2023
By: Marvin E. McPherson

Many companies have struggled to balance compliance with the immigration laws with compliance with the export laws. This tension was recently highlighted when the Department of Justice and General Motors (GM) reached a settlement resolving Justice’s determination that GM violated the Immigration and Nationality Act (INA) while attempting to comply with Export Control laws.

Justice determined that GM had discriminated against non-U.S. citizens in hiring contrary to the law. In specific, GM’s violations stemmed in part from its failure to properly consider INA’s nondiscrimination requirements when also complying with export control laws. GM’s export compliance policies unnecessarily required lawful permanent residents to provide an unexpired foreign passport as a condition of employment, imposing a discriminatory barrier on them in the hiring process.

Although GM was attempting to comply with export laws, it will still pay $365,000 in civil penalties. In turn DOJ announced the release of a new fact sheet to help employers avoid citizenship status discrimination when complying with export control laws. Th factsheet explains that in order to avoid discriminating under the INA, employers generally should not limit hiring or recruiting based on national origin and citizenship status or immigration status, unless otherwise required by law or government contract.

If you have questions about export compliance or deemed exports specifically (but not about immigration law) do not hesitate to contact an attorney at Barnes Richardson, & Colburn LLP.