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Mitch Perry Report for 1.26.16 – Not the Happiest Place on Earth?

in The Bay and the 'Burg/Top Headlines by

We’ve heard a lot about illegal immigration on the campaign trail. Most of the GOP candidates decry it but say they embrace legal immigration.

Like the H-1B visa.

The H-1B visa is a nonimmigrant visa that allows US companies to employ foreign workers in specialty occupations that require theoretical or technical expertise in specialized fields such as in architecture, engineering, mathematics, science, and medicine. Under the visa, a US company can employ a foreign worker for up to six years.

H-1B visas can’t be applied for by people who want to come into the U.S. Employers must petition for the entry of such employees. Current immigration law allows for a total of 85,000 new H-1B visas to be made available each government fiscal year.

Yesterday, two former Walt Disney World tech employees filed federal lawsuits against Disney in Tampa, accusing it and two outsourcing firms of conspiring to break the law by using temporary H-1B visas to bring in immigrant workers, knowing that Americans would be displaced.

The lawsuits assert the companies violated federal law because the outsourcing firms were misleading when filling out forms to sponsor workers for the visas. The Orlando Sentinel reports that outsourcing companies said in forms under oath that working conditions of “similarly situated employees would not be adversely affected,” according to the lawsuits.

Dena Moore, one of the two workers who filed the suit, tells The New York Times that “I don’t have to be angry or cause drama. But they are just doing things to save a buck, and it’s making Americans poor.”

Disney is fighting back, claiming that “these lawsuits are based on an unsustainable legal theory and are a wholesale misrepresentation of the facts.”

Bill Nelson has been talking for awhile now about reducing the 85,000 H-1B visas given out by the government each year, and has cited this Disney story as an argument to do so.

Meanwhile, Marco Rubio supports increasing the number, something that folks like Facebook’s Mark Zuckerberg have been asking him and other members of Congress to do.

It’d be good to hear what all the candidates say about this form of legal immigration.

In other news …

Bob Buckhorn is not holding back in his fierce opposition to the proposed “open carry” gun bill being proposed in the Legislature.

Janet Cruz won’t run for that newly created state Senate district in Hillsborough County.

If Cruz won’t run, what about Tampa City Councilwoman Yolie Capin or former Councilwoman Mary Mulhern?

GOP Senate candidate Todd Wilcox named his leadership team yesterday, including Chris LaCivita, the chief strategist behind Swift Boat Vets for Truth.

A Black Lives Matter co-founder is coming to the Tampa Bay area.

And Kathy Castor files a bipartisan bill that she says will spur investment and research in energy technology.

Mitch Perry has been a reporter with Extensive Enterprises since November of 2014. Previously, he served as five years as the political editor of the alternative newsweekly Creative Loafing. He also was the assistant news director with WMNF 88.5 FM in Tampa from 2000-2009, and currently hosts MidPoint, a weekly talk show, on WMNF on Thursday afternoons. He began his reporting career at KPFA radio in Berkeley. He's a San Francisco native who has now lived in Tampa for 15 years and can be reached at mitch.perry@floridapolitics.com.

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