Marco Rubio shocked and enraged his audience Wednesday during the CNBC GOP presidential debate when he said that foreign workers are better than Americans. Everyone knows that Rubio is the son of two immigrants, but he may have gone too far this time.
“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,” he said after claiming that American graduates are simply not as qualified as their foreign counterparts. “The ideal scenario is to train Americans to do the work, so we don’t have to rely on people from abroad.”
Rubio’s surprising claim came after a question about a bill he supports. The legislation, nicknamed “I-Squared,” would allow companies to hire more “guest workers” from other countries for white-collar jobs. Moderator John Hardwood hinted that this bill would undercut American professionals.
“Wired magazine recently carried the heading, ‘Marco Rubio wants to be the tech industry’s savior.’ It noted your support for dramatically increasing immigration visas called H-1B, which are designed for workers with the special skills that Silicon Valley wants. But your Senate colleague, Jeff Sessions of Alabama, says in reality, the tech industry uses this program to undercut hiring and wages for highly qualified Americans. Why is he wrong?”
Rubio responded by blaming America’s educational system. He also noted that if any country is caught undercutting American professionals in favor of foreign employees, they “should never be allowed to use the program again.”
This isn’t the first time Rubio has insulted American workers. Back in 2013, as he pushed his “Gang of Eight” bill on immigration expansion, he told The New Yorker that American workers, both professional and blue-collar, just aren’t up to snuff and that they should be replaced by foreign workers.
“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,” said Ron Hira, a professor at Howard University.
Hira is referring to the Walt Disney Company, which this year laid of hundreds of workers after forcing them to train their H-1B replacements. Instead of trying to stop this madness, Rubio moved forward with his plan to increase the amount of low-wage H-1B visas that will be used to replace American workers.
One displaced Disney worker shared his story with Breitbart: “It is very clear that the H-1B visa is about cutting wages and exploiting immigration guest workers programs at less pay… The proposed new bill, I-Squared, introduced by Sen. Marco Rubio, Sen. Jeff Flake, and Orin Hatch will triple the number of foreign H1-B guest workers increasing this problem threefold. I challenge the to read this story and think about the thousands or more workers just like us at Disney who will lose their jobs.”
Rubio continues to push The Immigration Innovation Act (I-Squared), which – big surprise – has been endorsed by the CEO of Disney. The bill includes no protections for American workers.
The claim that Americans can’t cut it is simply not true. According to US census data, high numbers of foreign workers have lead to a situation in which America’s labor market is flooded with young, qualified Americans stuck with minimum wage jobs as they struggle to make rent and pay off college debts.
According to Rutgers’ Hal Salzman, there are over 11 million Americans with STEM training but without the employment for which they are qualified. This surplus of tech laborers means that those in the IT field have seen virtually no wage increase since the Clinton Administration.
Salzman testified before the Senate Judiciary Committee, saying: “Proposed high-skill guest-worker legislation [such as the I-Squared bill] would expand the supply of guest-workers to levels greater than the total number of new technology jobs; that is, these visa changes would provide enough guest-workers to fill every new job opening in the IT workforce with a reserve large enough to allow firms to legally substitute young guest-workers for their incumbent workforce.”
Many of the companies that support the legislation, such as Microsoft, are laying off thousands of American workers in favor of H-1B replacements.
Even worse, H-1B workers are usually less skilled than American graduates. This is exemplified by the fact that American workers spend months training their foreign replacements before they are laid off. Seems like these companies will do nearly anything to save a few dollars.
In fact, according to ABC7’s Rebecca Vargas, “These highly specialized tech fields yield average salaries in the hundred thousand range, but for the younger foreign worker their median salary is about $62,000— some even less, according to published reports.”
Meanwhile, parents who have been replaced by “guest workers” worry that their children will face the same problems. Recent STEM graduates advise students to avoid the STEM program altogether, calling it a joke.
“Companies are not ‘abusing,’ ‘misusing,’ or ‘exploiting loopholes,’ in the H-1B guest worker program,” wrote WND’s Leo Hohmann, citing an immigration attorney by the name of John Miano. “Rather, the program was designed by Congress to do exactly what it is accomplishing – the replacement of the American tech worker with cheap foreign “guest workers.”