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Justice Dept. Intervenes in Suit Against Texas Farm for Discriminating Against U.S. Worker

The Justice Department recently filed a motion to intervene in a lawsuit against Jerry Estopy, d/b/a Estopy Farms, a sorghum and soy farm in McAllen, Texas, which also provides equipment and equipment operators for harvests at other farms. The Justice Department seeks to intervene in a lawsuit filed by two U.S. citizens against the farm. The Department alleges that the company discriminated against one of the U.S. citizens when it refused to hire him based on his citizenship status.

According to the department's complaint, a U.S. citizen with over 12 years experience operating cotton combines and tractors applied for a position with Estopy Farms as a cotton picker operator around June 2010. Estopy Farms hired a number of seasonal foreign workers but not the U.S. citizen. The department found reasonable cause to believe that the company did not hire the U.S. citizen because it preferred to hire foreign workers under the H-2A visa program.

Texas Rio Grande Legal Aid filed a lawsuit with the Office of the Chief Administrative Hearing Officer (OCAHO) within the Justice Department's Executive Office for Immigration Review on behalf of the two U.S. citizens on November 14, 2011. Because a complaint has already been filed, the department seeks to intervene in the existing lawsuit.


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