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America’s ‘Tech Exec Savior’: Marco Rubio Promotes H-1B, Immigration Platform to Supporters

Republican presidential candidate Sen. Marco Rubio (R-FL) is pressing his courtship of the tech world.

Rubio spoke to a crowd of entrepreneurs and potential supporters at New York City’s Civic Hall on Tuesday; a co-working space for civic-minded startups, journalists and tycoons among others.

“I don’t want to make people more expensive than machines,” Rubio said, according to Wired magazine. Rubio’s statement was merely pointing to the reality that over time, and with the power of technological innovation and advancement, all human beings will become less expensive than machines due to mass production; a point which many have argued will staunchly decrease the number of jobs available to Americans, resulting in mass displacement.

Rubio reportedly told the crowd of entrepreneurs that this moment in time was like the Industrial Revolution; a point he has brought up in the past. He suggested that while human beings are increasingly being replaced by machines, these machines need to be designed, built, maintained and eventually repaired or replaced with new ones — a task which needs to be carried out by human beings.

Pushing his immigration platform, which includes calls for broader reforms to the legal immigration system and “a merit-based system” that gives people a path to citizenship, Rubio said “my argument is if you’re the best at what you do on this planet, I don’t want you here temporarily. I want you here permanently. I want you to become American.”

Rubio went on to tell the crowd of his plan for the tripling of H-1B visas for skilled workers, which he hopes to achieve by seeing the passage of his bipartisan I-Squared (Immigration Innovation) bill which would be responsible for the outsourcing of even more American jobs to the immigrants who hold them.

The I-Squared bill has received tremendous backing from tech giants like Mark Zuckerberg of Facebook, Larry Ellison of Oracle and Bob Iger of Disney. Zuckerberg’s FWD.us lobbying arm has also played a key role in pushing for these H-1B reforms. FWD.us President Todd Schulte recently falsely suggested that “for every H-1B visa that is granted, nearly two jobs are created for native-born Americans.”

Every year, the United States graduates twice the number of students with STEM (science, technology, engineering and math) and IT degrees as there are jobs available.

A growing number of large America corporations are abusing these H-1B visas by forcing U.S. workers to train their foreign replacements who are willing to work for far less compensation. Toys “R” Us recently joined the ranks of Southern California Edison, Disney, and Harley Davidson by being complicit in this display of massive corporate greed at the cost of American workers’ livelihood.

Rubio seemed to echo Indian PM Narendra Modi, who in a recent visit to San Jose said India is not experiencing a “brain drain” but rather a “brain gain.” Rubio told the crowd that “we’re not experiencing an economic downturn. We’re experiencing a massive economic restructuring.”

The Florida Senator appeared to capture the hearts and minds of those convened at the Civic Hall. More than any other presidential candidate, including Jeb Bush and Donald Trump, Rubio has been able to resonate with Silicon Valley’s tech elites.
Andrew Rasiej, who is the founder and CEO of Civic Hall, told Wired that Rubio will “get [the tech] vote,” regarding his H-1B visa stance. “But he can’t do anything about it, no matter if he asks for one million visas or one.” Rasiej noted that until these skilled H-1B visa workers are allowed to become voting citizens, the topic of immigration reform is nothing but a political “piñata.

Follow Adelle Nazarian on Twitter @AdelleNaz and on Facebook.

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