By: Bruce Buchanan, Sebelist Buchanan Law

The Justice Department, acting through the Civil Rights Division’s Immigrant and Employee Rights Section (IER) has reached a settlement agreement with Honda Aircraft Company LLC (Honda Aircraft), a subsidiary of Honda Motor Co. Ltd., that manufactures and sells business jet aircrafts. The settlement resolves a claim that Honda Aircraft, headquartered in Greensboro, North Carolina, refused to consider or hire certain work-authorized non-U.S. citizens because of their citizenship status, in violation of the Immigration and Nationality Act’s (INA) anti-discrimination provision.

The investigation determined, between August 2015 and December 2016, Honda Aircraft published at least 25 job postings, on their website and several third-party websites, that unlawfully required applicants to have a specific citizenship status to be considered for the vacancies. The IER concluded the company’s unlawful practice of restricting job vacancies to U.S. citizens and in some cases, to U.S. citizens and lawful permanent residents (LPR), was based on a misunderstanding of the requirements under the International Traffic in Arms Regulations (ITAR) and the Export Administration Regulations (EAR).

The ITAR regulates specific exports of defense articles and services, and – absent State Department authorization – limits access to certain sensitive information to “U.S. persons,” which are defined as U.S. citizens, U.S. nationals, lawful permanent residents, asylees, and refugees. The EAR similarly regulates commercial goods and technology that could have military applications. The EAR limits access to export-controlled technology and information to “U.S. persons” absent authorization from the Department of Commerce. Neither the ITAR nor the EAR requires or authorizes employers to hire only U.S. citizens and LPRs. Employers that limit their hiring to U.S. citizens and/or LPRs without legal justification may violate the INA’s anti-discrimination provision.

Under the settlement agreement, Honda Aircraft will pay a civil penalty of $44,626, remove all specific citizenship requirements from current and future job postings unless they are authorized by law, require certain employees to attend training on the INA’s anti-discrimination provision, through an IER webinar, ensure trained personnel review future job advertisements and be subject to IER monitoring for two years.

If you want to know more information on issues related to employer immigration compliance, I recommend you read The I-9 and E-Verify Handbook, a book I co-authored with Greg Siskind, and available at