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As the government begins approving H-1B applications for the year, the Justice Department has issued a public warning to employers seeking those visas not to use them to harbor bias against US-based workers.

"The Justice Department will not tolerate employers misusing the H-1B visa process to discriminate against US workers," said Acting Assistant Attorney General Tom Wheeler of DOJ's Civil Rights Division. "US workers should not be placed in a disfavored status, and the department is wholeheartedly committed to investigating and vigorously prosecuting these claims."

The warning comes as debate heats up in Washington over the proper administration of the H-1B visa program, which the Justice Department described today as allowing US companies "to temporarily employ foreign workers in specialty occupations such as science and information technology." Some critics allege the program has been used as a source of cheap outsourced labor.

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