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From the staff of the Tampa Bay Times

Disney employee from Florida displaced by foreign worker to testify Thursday before U.S. Senate committee



WASHINGTON - A Disney employee who was terminated in favor of cheaper, foreign labor will testify Thursday afternoon before a Senate committee, bringing a new focus to an issue that has come up on the presidential campaign trail.

Leo Perrero, a former Disney IT engineer from Longwood, will appear before the Subcommittee on Immigration and the National Interest, chaired by Sen. Jeff Sessions, R-Ala. Perrero has sued Disney after he was displaced by a foreign worker who was working under a H-1B visa.

He was one of about 250 employees who were laid off in late 2014 and replaced by workers by an outsourcing company in India. The U.S. workers had to train their replacements in order to get severance.

Outraged, Sen. Bill Nelson has teamed up with Sessions on legislation that would slash the number of H-1B visas by 15,000 and calls on the Department of Homeland Security to allocate the remaining 70,000 visas in a way that minimizes the potential for companies to seek cheap foreign labor.

Sen. Marco Rubio has drawn some scrutiny for co-sponsoring a bill, I-Squared, that would triple H-1B visas, an objective of the tech industry and Disney. Rubio has expressed concern about the Disney situation but declined to join Nelson in calls for a federal investigatio

I-Squared is supported by big technology firms such as Microsoft and Oracle, which previously backed Rubio on the 2013 "Gang of 8" immigration bill and whose executives have contributed to him. Oracle's Larry Ellison has given $4 million to a super PAC supporting Rubio’s presidential campaign.

The legislation is also supported by the Partnership for a New American Economy, whose board includes Disney’s Bob Iger, Michael Bloomberg and Rupert Murdoch.

[Last modified: Thursday, February 25, 2016 2:35am]


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