Make us your home page

The Buzz

From the staff of the Tampa Bay Times

Former Disney worker let go for foreign replacement endorses Trump, bashes Rubio

Leo Pererro, former Disney IT worker, testifying before a U.S. Senate committee on Feb. 25, 2016

Screen capture

Leo Pererro, former Disney IT worker, testifying before a U.S. Senate committee on Feb. 25, 2016



Two former Disney workers in Florida fired in favor of a cheaper foreign worker will endorse Donald Trump and appear at his rally Sunday in Huntsville, Ala., an appearance likely to include shots at Marco Rubio.

Leo Perrero testified Thursday before the Subcommittee on Immigration and the National Interest, chaired by Sen. Jeff Sessions, R-Ala. In an endorsement of Trump, he takes a shot at Rubio for pushing for more H-1B visas.

Perrero, an IT engineer who lives in Longwood, has sued Disney after he was displaced by a foreign worker. Another ex-employee, Dena Moore, has filed suit with him in Tampa and will also endorse Trump.

They were among 250 employees who were laid off by Disney 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.

The issue has come up on the presidential trail and could give Trump an avenue to attack Rubio, who has co-sponsored the “I-Squared” bill that would triple the number of H-1B visas. Rubio, who has gotten considerable campaign contributions from forces pushing for more visas, expressed concern about the Disney situation but declined to join Sen. Bill Nelson in calling for a federal investigation.

"I and my coworkers at Disney in Florida experienced the humiliation of being forced to train our foreign replacements just flown in to take over our very own desks and computers from us,” Perrero said in a statement.

“No American citizen should ever have to suffer this indignity. Yet, when we cried out for help, only one of our two Florida Senators even acknowledged us - Bill Nelson. Marco Rubio was nowhere to be found. Instead, he was pushing a corporate-backed plan to triple the number of foreign guest workers replacing American workers in technology fields while hundreds of former Disney IT workers were lining up in the unemployment line. Under Rubio's plan, thousands more Floridians will experience the same fate as us. Marco Rubio has betrayed American workers. I am endorsing Donald Trump because I believe he will stand up to the all powerful corporations that spend millions each month in Washington DC in an attempt to influence our lawmakers.  I have faith that Trump will take immediate action to ensure no American professional ever again has to train his or her foreign replacement worker."

Rubio's campaign issued a statement that did not directly address Perrero's comments but focused on Trump.

"After we secure our borders, implement E-Verify and crack down on visa overstays, Marco believes we need to modernize our legal immigration system, make it more merit-based and ensure visa programs are no longer being abused the way Donald Trump has done in Florida," spokesman Alex Burgos said. "Donald Trump is clearly rattled after Marco exposed him on the debate stage, and now he's trying to distract from his record of hiring foreign workers and illegal immigrants even though Floridians and other Americans were lined up for those jobs. Trump is nothing more than a con artist masquerading as a businessman and a conservative, and Marco is going to stop him from hijacking our movement and country."

And here is Moore:

"I am not supporting Rubio because I believe he changes positions to get votes and is influenced by lobbyists and companies supporting him. His prior acts has eliminated American jobs and given them to foreigners. I endorse Mr. Trump because I feel he is for Americans first and foremost, he shares our vision, or dreams and will fight for our futures. He stands up for what is right and that takes courage.

"Politicians change positions to get votes and are influenced by lobbyists. A successful business person changes positions based on facts and data. The fact is, that Americans are losing jobs to illegals and a politician will do nothing, whereas Trump will because he has no special interest groups or lobbyists to impress. Trump is for Americans first and foremost. He can and will put America back on the road to greatness."

[Last modified: Friday, February 26, 2016 1:01pm]


Join the discussion: Click to view comments, add yours