May 19, 2015
The Daily Caller
Republican senator and presidential candidate Marco Rubio is backing a bill that would triple the number of guest workers businesses could hire every year, after hundreds of workers in his state were fired and literally replaced by foreign guest workers.
Disney, Southern California Edison and most recently Fossil Group have together fired hundreds of American tech workers and forced them to train their foreign replacements, many of whom were flown in specifically to take their job.
“You had me here one day, and the next day you had an Indian worker at a lower skill level sitting at my desk,” one of the hundreds of tech workers who Disney recently fired told The Daily Caller News Foundation. (RELATED: Senators Ask Feds To Investigate Guest Worker Visa Abuse)
He and hundreds of his fellow “Cast Members” were informed last October they were being replaced by a foreign work force, and they could either stick around for 90 days and train their replacements — with a good attitude — or leave immediately and forego their severance packages.
About a month before Disney broke the news, this worker got the very highest rating you can get from management in a performance review, received a raise and was told to expect a promotion. And just a week or two before the announcement, Disney announced record-breaking profits for the company.
So when he was called in to that October meeting he was expecting some sort of promotion or pat on the back. Instead, he and the few dozen other highly regarded, knowledgable and experienced employees called into the meeting were told they had 90 days to find employment elsewhere.
“Twenty years of hard work, technical skill building, fostering relationships, a bachelor’s degree in IT, guided me to a coveted position as an IT engineer at Disney,” he told TheDCNF, speaking on condition of anonymity, because he’s waiting on legal advice. “And that was just wiped out.” (RELATED: Zuckerberg Ally On Americans Losing Jobs To Foreign Labor: ‘This Is What This Whole Country Is Built On)
They were encouraged to apply for other jobs at Disney, and ordered to stay and fully train their replacements, if they wanted to keep their severance package. A 10 percent bonus was dangled as a reward for those who cooperated fully and maintained a great attitude.
The office was soon flooded with the foreign workers, most of whom were fresh out of college. In the first phase, the foreign worker sat next to the American worker in “knowledge transfer sessions,” and videotaped everything they said and did, and then reviewed the tapes with the American worker to ensure accuracy.
In the second phase, the guest worker began working alongside the American worker, who was supposed to oversee and critique them. And in the last 30 days the guest worker completely took over the American worker’s job, while the American worker sat by and watched, tasked only with keeping them from making serious mistakes.
“It was really, extremely uncomfortable,” the ex-employee said. “You’re thinking ‘I can’t believe that I’ve worked this many years for this company, and I’ve worked these crazy on-call hours, and I’ve worked in the middle of the night on all these projects, and they’re just replacing me with somebody from India.'”
“And then that person is in the same room with you.”
He and other fired employees did send dozens of applications to Disney, but he got absolutely no response, and heard of just three people out of the hundreds who were laid off that managed to stay with Disney. He estimates one in four were forced into retirement. (RELATED: Wages Declined As Immigration Surged)
On their last day of employment, he and the other replaced workers were asked to turn over their badges, their Disney season passes, and their laptops and then asked to leave. And that was it. “It was just a complete shock that you could do that in this country,” he said.
His lawyer is working on a class action lawsuit, and has made it his mission to ensure other workers don’t suffer the same fate. “I’m a really patriotic person, and I just can’t see more people suffer because of this,” he said. “It’s just so humiliating and so anti-American. It’s just, it’s just terrible. It’s just awful.”
Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker is the only top GOP 2016 contender even talking about limiting the flow of guest workers into the country. (RELATED: Where Cruz Stands With Rubio Against Walker On Immigration)
Rubio’s “I-squared” bill would triple the number of temporary guest workers businesses could bring into the country every year, and allow for a virtually unlimited number of university-based green cards.
The big businesses backing this bill and clamoring for more guest workers insist they can’t find enough Americans willing or able to fill certain “high-skilled” jobs. Rubio obviously agrees, and has argued more guest workers and immigration generally will result in more jobs for Americans. (RELATED: Rubio Doubles Down On Gang Of Eight Bill)
But his office did not respond to multiple requests for an explanation of his support for the bill or a response to his constituents replaced by foreign workers at Disney.
“It’s basically a quest for cheap labor,” Norm Matloff, a computer science professor at the University of California Davis, told TheDCNF. “The abuse of H-1B pervades the entire industry. They all could find American workers if they wanted to, but they want cheap labor and they want immobile labor.”
“Its only purpose is to please the corporate interests that are very heavy campaign contributors,” he added. “That is literally the bottom line.”
The ex-Disney employee concurred, calling the notion of a shortage “completely insane,” given his experience. “There’s not a shortage of IT workers but all the jobs are vanishing,” he said. “I’m completely, completely disenfranchised by IT.”
“I want to have nothing to do with it now,” he continued. “I’m doing my best to get out of it, because there is no future in IT. I would never recommend it to my children.”
Nearly 75 percent of Americans with STEM degrees are not working in STEM Fields, according to Census data, and only 3.8 million Americans with STEM degrees actually hold STEM jobs.
“I can see how we do need people coming into our country that want to come here and build a life, and have a family here, and stay here for the long run, and bring things into our country we don’t have,” he said. “But this is clearly not the case whatsoever. This is purely a cost cutting measure, and it benefits the companies, and hurts our country and hurts our workers.”
The U.S. currently allows one million immigrants and about 700,000 guest workers into the country annually. The Census Bureau recently projected the foreign-born population (legal and illegal immigrants) will hit 51 million by 2023 — the largest share of total population ever recorded in American history.
A conservative immigration lawyer who supports increasing the flow of foreign guest workers said cases such as Disney are exceptions to the rule. “Generally, there is no displacement,” Alfonso Aguilar, Director of American Principles In Action’s Latino Partnership, told TheDCNF.
“From my experience talking to businesses and as an immigration lawyer, the problem with this is you find exceptions, and they come to Washington and try to make those arguments, and those may be exceptions, but generally that does not happen.”