Sen. Marco Rubio was forced to play defense after a key aide was quoted saying that immigration is necessary because some American workers can't get the job done.
"There are American workers who, for lack of a better term, can’t cut it," Enrique Gonzales, a Cuban-American lawyer, said according to a yet-to-be-published article in the New Yorker magazine
"There shouldn’t be a presumption that every American worker is a star performer. There are people who just can’t get it, can’t do it, don’t want to do it," added Gonzalez, who was acting as Rubio's point man on immigration talks between the U.S. Chamber of Commerce and labor unions.
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"You can't obviously discuss that publicly," he added.
The unions were arguing for higher wages, arguing that ther are plenty of Americans willing to work in construction. The Chamber said there was a shortage of skilled American labor in the field.
Politico originally obtained an excerpt of the New Yorker article with Gonzalez's quote included.
Rubio spokesman Alex Conant did not dispute the accuracy of Gonzalez's statement, but blasted the New Yorker for using it.
"We strongly objected to the magazine including that background quote in the piece because it’s not what Sen. Rubio believes or has ever argued," Conant said in an email.
“In truth, Sen. Rubio has always said the reason we need a robust temporary-worker program is to create legal avenues for U.S. businesses to meet labor needs when not enough Americans apply for jobs. This is a persistent issue in many industries, like agriculture, and has been a draw for illegal immigration in the past," Conant added.
"The legislation that Sen. Rubio agreed to sponsor creates a robust temporary-worker program to meet our economic needs while protecting American workers and wages.
"Sen. Rubio believes that American workers can compete against anyone in the world."
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