American workers laid off by Orlando Disney are preparing a lawsuit against their former employer. They allege they were replaced by lower-wage foreign workers on H-1B visas— and that they were forced to suffer the indignity of training their foreign replacements.
In an exclusive interview with Breitbart News, the workers’ attorney, Sara Blackwell, provides details about the lawsuit, and slams the workers’ home state senator— Marco Rubio— for pushing to triple the H-1B visa to appease his “corporate donors.”
“I think Sen. Rubio is a liar,” Blackwell said:
When you tell America that there are not enough qualified American workers— whether you are Mark Zuckerberg, or [Disney CEO] Bob Iger, or Marco Rubio— when you say that there aren’t enough qualified Americans while hundreds of qualified Americans are being fired, and replaced by less qualified foreigners, that’s a straight lie. And I think Rubio lies. And the only motivation I can imagine he has to do so is the support he gets from his corporate donors.
Blackwell tells Breitbart that the Disney employees are filing complaints with the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC), which is a prerequisite to bringing forth a discrimination lawsuit. Blackwell explained that by terminating the Americans and forcing them to train their foreign replacements, the employees will make discrimination claims under the Title VII of the Civil Rights Act.
The claims include discrimination based on national origin (the displaced workers were American/non-Indian, while their replacements were reportedly Indian nationals); race (most of the employees terminated were non-Indian, while their replacements were reportedly Indian nationals); age (most of the displaced workers were over the age of forty while most of the foreign replacements were under forty); and gender (some of the employees who were terminated were women while nearly all of the foreign worker replacements were men).
Blackwell says that getting the American workers the legal protections to which they are entitled to has been difficult given the top-down pressure to silence the displaced workers. “Most of the American workers that were terminated are afraid to come forward,” Blackwell said. “They’re afraid to speak, afraid to file a complaint. The tech industry is very unstable and they don’t want to be blacklisted, which does happen. Most of them are worried and scared to come forward.”
Blackwell told Breitbart that she got involved in representing the tech workers after learning how American citizens are being discriminated against in their own country by virtue of their American nationality.
Indeed, groups promoting policies that would replace American workers frequently use the term “new America” as a euphemism. For instance, the Murdoch-Iger lobbying firm is called the “Partnership for A New American Economy;” the National Journal has launched “The Next America” project; and the White House’s immigration initiative is called the “New Americans Project.” Similarly, Sen. Marco Rubio’s campaign theme is, “A New American Century.”
For instance, Oracle is ranked 20th among the biggest users of the H-1B program, according to USCIS data analyzed by Computer World’s Patrick Thibodeau. Oracle has endorsed Rubio’s legislation and now its billionaire co-founder, Larry Ellison, is helping to fund Rubio’s campaign.
In July, the WSJ reported that Ellison gave $3 million to the pro-Rubio Super PAC. In June, Ellison hosted a $2,700 per-person fundraiser for Rubio. In addition, the bill has also received the endorsement Mark Zuckerberg’s immigration expansion group, FWD.us. Most strikingly, the bill has been endorsed by the lobbying firm co-chaired by none other than Disney’s CEO, Bob Iger, along with FOX’s Rupert Murdoch.
In recent weeks, the H-1B visa has become a central topic in the presidential election. Last month, in an exclusive interview with Breitbart News, GOP frontrunner Donald Trump called on Disney to hire back all of its American workers who had been replaced by low-wage foreign nationals. Trump declared:
I am calling TODAY on Disney to hire back every one of the workers they replaced, and I am calling on Rubio to immediately rescind his sponsorship of the I-Squared bill and apologize to every Floridian for endorsing it. I am further calling on Rubio to return the money he has received from Silicon Valley CEOs and to donate the money to a charity helping unemployed Americans whose jobs Rubio has helped to destroy.
Trump slammed Rubio for “dishonesty.” Trump said, “Senator Rubio is incapable of telling the truth,” and concluded, “he should be disqualified for dishonesty alone.”
In the recent CNBC presidential debate, moderator John Harwood pressed Rubio on his support for “dramatically increasing immigration visas… which Jeff Sessions of Alabama, says in reality, the tech industry uses this program to undercut hiring and wages for highly qualified Americans.”
In his lengthy response, Rubio suggested that there is a “gap” between the lesser talents of Americans and the superior talents of foreign workers.
Rubio suggested that Americans would need further training before they would be qualified to fill certain jobs in their own country: “We need to get back to training people in this country to do the jobs of the 21st century… The best way to close this gap is to modernize higher education so Americans have the skills for those jobs,” Rubio said. The “ideal scenario is to train Americans to do the work, so we don’t have to rely on people from abroad,” Rubio declared.
This response prompted swift rebuke from labor expert and Howard University professor Ron Hira. “It’s ironic that Rubio would basically blame American workers for not being skilled and trained [even though] American workers in his own state, who have the skills and were doing their job, were replaced by H-1B workers, who had less skills.”
Census data shows that there are currently 11 million U.S. workers with STEM certification that are not working in STEM employment positions.
When Rubio attempted to claim that he had sought “reforms” to the program to prevent abuses, Hira—like Blackwell— declared Rubio’s claim to be “an outright fabrication.”
Rubio’s I-Squared bill would triple H-1B visas while also essentially lifting green card caps for the foreign STEM workforce and their relatives.
In testimony submitted for the record in reply to questions from the Senate Judiciary Committee, H-1B expert and attorney John Miano was asked directly: “what protections exist for American workers in” Marco Rubio I-Squared bill? His blunt answer: “There are none.”
Rubio efforts to champion the H-1B program have been well-documented. In addition to his I-Squared bill, which he introduced earlier this year, the 2013 immigration bill Rubio wrote with Senator Schumer would have substantially increased the issuances of H-1B visas.
These increases would all be layered on top of America’s current record-breaking intake of foreign nationals which have hurtled the country to a milestone 42.4 million foreign-born residents. One-quarter of the country is now of foreign birth or has parents of foreign birth.
Rutgers Professor Hal Salzman explained in testimony before the Senate Judiciary Committee earlier this year that corporations are filling roughly two-thirds of entry-level tech jobs with foreign workers. Salzman added that if the forerign worker expansions outlined in Rubio’s I-Squared bill or his Gang of Eight bill were enacted, “the increases… would supply guestworkers for more than 100 percent of the industry’s hiring needs.”
In 2013 when the New Yorker’s Ryan Lizza asked why Rubio’s plan contained such large-scale guest worker provisions, a Rubio aide expressed more bluntly what Rubio implied during the CNBC debate.
The Rubio aide said:“One of the problems you have with this, ‘Oh there’s American workers who are unemployed.’ There are American workers who, for lack of a better term, can’t cut it. There shouldn’t be a presumption that every American worker is a star performer. There are people who just can’t get it, can’t do it, don’t want to do it. And so you can’t obviously discuss that publicly because–.”
At which point another Rubio aide jumped in asserting, “But the same is true for the high-skilled worker.”
To which, the first Rubio aide replied, “Yes, and the same is true across every sector, in government, in everything.”
In 2013, Immigration and Customs Enforcement Union President Chris Crane accused the Rubio of having “directly misled law enforcement officers.” Crane said “Sen. Rubio left unchanged legislative provisions that he himself admitted to us in private were detrimental, flawed and must be changed.”
When Rubio tried to claim his bill did not grant amnesty— even though Sen. Charles Schumer (D-NY) made clear that it bill would grant amnesty to the illegal population “on day one”— Mark Krikorian wrote, “Unless [Rubio’s] an idiot, which I do not think to be the case, he’s trying to fool voters, not persuade them… First, [Rubio repeats] a familiar talking point: the bill doesn’t provide amnesty. For crisssake, of course it’s amnesty! Stop lying!”
Similarly, National Review documented Rubio’s repeated misrepresentations about the bill, writing in one editorial:
[Rubio] has supposedly discovered that the enforcement provisions are inadequate, although he has done countless interviews touting that the bill contains the ‘toughest immigration-enforcement measures in the history of United States’ (which is what his website still says). At the same time, Rubio declares the bill 95–96 percent perfect.
Washington Examiner’s Byron York exposed how despite Rubio’s repeated assurances in 2013 that “stressed [the bill’s] enforcement provisions, saying that border security must come before immigrants are granted legal permanent resident status,” in a Spanish-language interview on Univision, Rubio admitted that the exact opposite was true.
“Let’s be clear,” Rubio said. “Nobody is talking about preventing the legalization. The legalization is going to happen. That means the following will happen: First comes the legalization. Then come the measures to secure the border. And then comes the process of permanent residence.”
In an April 2015 interview, Sean Hannity asked Rubio a question that had been submitted by viewers via Facebook which read, “Are you prepared to… stop illegal amnesty?”
Rubio replied, “I imagine what they’re asking about is the executive amnesty, in essence, absolutely that would be reversed. It needs to be reversed.” That same month, however, Rubio told Univision’s Jorge Ramos something that he failed to mention to Hannity, namely that Rubio hoped to keep DREAMer executive amnesty in place until some kind of “immigration reform” (i.e. legislative amnesty) has replaced it.
Rubio told Ramos in Spanish, “Well, DACA is going to have to end at some point. I wouldn’t undo it immediately. The reason is that there are already people who have that permission, who are working, who are studying, and I don’t think it would be fair to cancel it suddenly. But I do think it is going to have to end. And, God willing, it’s going to end because immigration reform is going to pass.”
Rubio’s position on executive amnesty for DREAMers bears a striking similarity to the position articulated by President Obama—namely that he will leave the temporary executive amnesty measure for DREAMers in place while he pushes Congress to legislatively ratify amnesty, even though Congress and voters have rejected DREAM Act amnesty on multiple occasions.
Conservative icon Phyllis Schlafly has said that Rubio’s decision to pitch contradicting campaign agendas depending on what language he is speaking ought to be inherently disqualifying. “Rubio’s statement [on executive amnesty] was made in Spanish on the Spanish-language network Univision, which is reason enough to eliminate him from serious consideration,” Schlafly said. “When somebody is running for President of the United States, why should we have to get somebody to translate his remarks into English?”
Earlier this week, Rubio praised the refugee provisions in the Gang of Eight’s Obama-backed immigration plan. Rubio told The Guardian’s Sabrina Siddiqui that the Gang of Eight bill (S. 744) “did strengthen the refugee program,” however this claim has been debunked by the Federation for American Immigration Reform, who explained in its analysis at the time that, “Title III Subtitle D of S.744 undermines current asylum and refugee law by eliminating preexisting requirements aliens apply for asylum within a certain time frame of entering the U.S., allowing asylum officers to bypass immigration judges before granting asylum to unlawful aliens, and giving broad authority to the Administration to create new categories of refugees and stateless persons to be admitted into the country.”
Conservative Review’s Daniel Horowitz explained that Rubio’s “bill would have created endless avenues for this president to bring in an unlimited numbers of Islamic immigrants from the most volatile corners of the world.”
Earlier this month, Rubio told Hannity that he joined the Gang of Eight because he “was trying to produce the most conservative bill possible in a Senate controlled by Democrats and had hoped a more conservative House would make it even better.” Yet, unlike the McCain-Kennedy bill, which a number of Democrats opposed, Rubio’s bill was backed unanimously by Senate Democrats and championed by Harry Reid, Nancy Pelosi, Luis Gutierrez, La Raza, the Chamber of Commerce, and the immigration group co-chaired by Iger, Murdoch, Marriott and other CEOs.