Carowinds employees with visas getting kicked out of country, workers say

CHARLOTTE, N.C. — Dozens of Carowinds employees have been fired and will soon be kicked out of the country.

The employees were in the United States on work visas but getting fired from the local amusement park means they'll soon have to leave.

The 27 Carowinds employees, all foreign workers, were fired after they were accused of underage drinking and running from the police in a hotel parking lot.

“I just feel sad because I never thought that this was going to happen,” a 20-year-old international worker told Channel 9.

He arrived on a J1 visa as part of the Exchange Visitor Program that is run by the U.S. Department of State.

A York County police report said a deputy noticed a large group gathered in the Motel 6 parking lot around 1 a.m. Tuesday.

Many in the group ran off when deputies arrived.

Authorities managed to detain most of the crowd and said 10 of the workers admitted to drinking alcohol even though they were not 21 years old.

Most of the exchange workers live in the nearby Clarion Motel. No one was charged with a crime.

Carowinds told Whistleblower 9 it doesn't comment on personnel matters but the police report shows Carowinds was notified and the exchange workers said 27 of them were fired.

That doesn't sit well with one of their U.S. co-workers who said it's an overreaction.

“I think that everyone needs to find out the truth,” the U.S. worker said. “And they should be able to stay.”

"Participants who are terminated from their exchange programs are expected to leave the United States immediately," a spokesperson with the U.S. Department of State said.

Carowinds has about 4,000 employees and said 3.3 percent, or about 132 employees, are on exchange visas.