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Donald Trump Trashes H-1B Visa Abuse, Clarifying Position After Debate

The candidate seeks to clarify his statements from Thursday night's Republican candidates debate.

Scott Olson/Getty Images

Republican front-runner Donald Trump said he would crack down on corporate abuse of the H-1B visa program, which is used widely in Silicon Valley and elsewhere to hire highly skilled foreign workers for “specialty occupations.”

The candidate decried the use of H-1B visas by the Walt Disney Co., which is being sued by former tech workers at Walt Disney World in Orlando, Fla. The workers claim they were forced to train foreign workers who took their jobs.

“The H-1B program is neither high-skilled nor immigration: these are temporary foreign workers, imported from abroad, for the explicit purpose of substituting for American workers at lower pay,” Trump said in a statement. “I remain totally committed to eliminating rampant, widespread H-1B abuse and ending outrageous practices such as those that occurred at Disney in Florida when Americans were forced to train their foreign replacements.”

Trump sought to clarify his comments following Thursday night’s Republican presidential debate, when Fox News moderator Megyn Kelly asked the candidate if he still believes that granting H-1B visas to skilled workers would “decimate” the American workforce.

The real estate mogul responded he was “softening the position because we have to have talented people in this country.”

Friday morning, Trump issued a statement that he would “end forever” the use of the H-1B visa as a “cheap labor program.”

The candidate doesn’t offer an opinion on a different sort of visa, the H-2B, which resort owners typically use to bring in temporary, low-skill workers. Trump’s Mar-a-Lago Club in Palm Beach, Fla., took extensive advantage of this foreign guest worker program — pursuing more than 500 visas since 2010, according to the New York Times.

Trump said in an interview that his organization skipped over most of the 300 local residents who applied for jobs because “they weren’t qualified, for some reason. There are very few qualified people during the high season in the area.”

This article originally appeared on Recode.net.