Presidential candidate Sen. Marco Rubio (R-FL) has doubled down in his efforts to push legislation that would triple the number of H-1B visa holders in the United States, even after Microsoft’s announcement last week that it will terminate another 7,800 U.S. workers in order to replace them with cheaper labor — this on top of the 18,000 it’s already laid off.
Rubio’s I-Squared bill would effectively further the plight of American STEM (science, technology, engineering and math) and IT workers. Computer World notes that during a speech in Chicago last week, Rubio emphasized the false narrative that a lack of skilled American workers is the cause of these massive layoffs, using the phrase “skills gap” as his hook; a code phrase which is also employed by Microsoft, Southern California Edison and other companies.
In reality, there is a surplus, not shortage, of skilled U.S. workers and not enough STEM jobs to accommodate these citizens.
Sen. Jeff Sessions (R-AL) responded to Microsoft’s mass layoffs announcement last week saying the mass tech corporation is crushing Americans’ dreams: “Any increase to the H-1B visa would only quash the dreams of more talented Americans, glut the labor market and keep pay low, and push more of our own homegrown best and brightest students out of work.”
Rubio spokesperson Brooke Sammon reportedly told Computerworld by email that Rubio’s silence in regard to an 11th senator — Sen. Bill Nelson (D-FL) — calling for a probe into the H1-B visa program, was not from a lack of concern, reportedly distancing Rubio from any formal statement acknowledging abuse of the program. “If the program was misused then people should be held accountable,” Sammon said. She continued, “We unfortunately don’t have a lot of confidence in the Obama Administration’s ability to carry out this investigation, protect American workers, or enforce our immigration laws,” said Sammon, who called for “a complete, step-by-step overhaul of our immigration system so that our laws are enforced.”
Questions have mounted over how Rubio could hold such a lack of trust in this administration’s ability to carry out an investigation, yet is pushing the I-Squared bill to triple the number of H-1B visas given to the Obama Administration.
A congressional aide provided the following quote to Breitbart News about the apparent contradiction:
Mr. Rubio’s staff says they don’t want to investigate Disney because they do not trust Mr. Obama to handle the H-1B program. But if that is true, then how do they explain why Mr. Rubio is pushing to triple the number of H-1B visas given to Mr. Obama to hand out? If Mr. Rubio didn’t trust Mr. Obama with H-1Bs wouldn’t he be pushing to suspend the program – rather than joining Corporate America’s crusade to triple it?
Additionally, the I-Squared bill and subsequent H1-B visa expansions is endorsed by Disney CEO Bob Iger, who serves on the board of the Partnership for the New American Economy, arguably the largest immigration lobbying group in the nation in terms of its reach. PNAE has strongly endorsed H1-B increases and legislation to that effect. Disney has laid of hundreds of American workers, forcing them to trains their H1-B visa-holding replacements.
On Monday, Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker declared his candidacy for the U.S. presidency. He has spoken previously with Sen. Sessions and expressed his openness to cutting immigration levels, veering in the opposite direction from Rubio on this issue. However, Walker has not spoken on the issue recently and his campaign has yet to take a stance on the issue of H1-B visas, a potential major topic in the upcoming race – especially with Florida at the center of the current controversy.