Republican Sen. Marco Rubio broke his silence on H-1b abuses Friday, following the news that another Florida company is laying off dozens of tech workers and asking them to train their foreign replacements.
“Of course we’re concerned about these reports,” a spokeswoman for Rubio’s Senate office told The Daily Caller News Foundation in an emailed statement. “If the program was misused, then people should be held accountable.”
Catalina Marketing, which helps thousands of stores across the country implement coupon and rewards programs, has hired an outsourcing giant to replace 50 Catalina IT workers, a Tampa Bay Fox affiliate reported Thursday. Some of the laid off workers told Fox 13 they’ve been asked to train their foreign replacements. (RELATED: Disney Blacklisted Displaced American Workers)
Catalina follows Southern California Edison, Fossil Group and, most recently, Disney, which have also laid off tech workers and told them to train their foreign replacements. The contracting firms they hired rely heavily on foreign workers brought into the country on temporary work permits known as H-1bs.
The visas are supposed to allow businesses to bring in high-skilled workers for jobs American workers can’t or won’t fill, but businesses such as Disney and Southern California Edison are apparently abusing the program in order to cut costs. (RELATED: Zuckerberg Ally On Americans Losing Jobs To Foreign Labor: ‘This Is What This Whole Country Is Built On)
“The program is designed to protect, not displace, American workers and any misuse should be addressed,” Rubio’s spokeswoman told TheDCNF. “Senator Rubio supports reforms that would make the system stronger and less subject to abuse without unduly burdening American businesses that work within the program in good faith.”
Rubio’s fellow Florida senator, Bill Nelson, a Democrat who supports the H-1b program, has called for a federal investigation into the Disney layoffs. And at the request of a bipartisan group of senators, the Obama administration is investigating suspected abuses of the program by the outsourcing firms Southern California Edison hired.
Rubio has not called for any kind of investigation or taken other public action to address the reported abuses. And he initially repeatedly declined to comment on the Disney layoffs or to explain why he is sponsoring a bill that would triple the number of H-1b visa holders businesses could hire every year. (RELATED: Rubio Doubles Down On Gang Of Eight Bill)
His spokeswoman told TheDCNF Friday the bill “will improve these visa programs, protect American workers and create new jobs.” (RELATED: Disney ABC Cancels Plans To Layoff Dozens Of Tech Workers)
Former Florida governor and presidential candidate Jeb Bush declined to comment. Bush is also a big supporter of the H-1b program, along with the majority of the 2016 candidates. (This Is The Only 2016 Candidate Committed To Reducing Legal Immigration)
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