The PJ Tatler

Rubio Aide Says Some Americans Workers 'Can't Cut It'

So, logically speaking, we must legalize 11 million who broke the law…?

[Chuck Schumer aide Leon] Fresco and [Rubio aide Enrique] Gonzalez helped to unlock the deal with labor and the Chamber of Commerce. The two biggest sticking points were wages for foreign workers (the unions wanted them to be higher) and the objections of the Building and Construction Trades union, which argues that plenty of Americans are looking for this kind of work.

Rubio sided with the Chamber against the construction workers. ‘There are American workers who, for lack of a better term, can’t cut it,’ a Rubio aide told me. ‘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. And so you can’t obviously discuss that publicly.’ In the end, the wage issue was settled to the A.F.L.-C.I.O.’s satisfaction, and the Building and Construction Trades union won a cap on the number of visas for foreign construction workers.

Whether the immigration bill ought to pass or not should not hinge on Mr. Gonzalez’s opinion of American workers. It should hinge on whether it helps bolster or diminish the rule of law in the country, and it should hinge on whether it is the right thing to do for Americans citizens and legal immigrants.

A Rubio spokesman, Alex Conant, emailed NRO to clarify his colleague’s statement.

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. In truth, Sen. Rubio has always said the reason we need a robust temporary worker program is to create legal avenues for US 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. 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.

It was a background quote given to Politico by name from inside the effort to pass one of the most consequential bills of the past century or so. If it truly does not reflect Sen. Rubio’s thinking, perhaps Mr. Gonzalez should be allowed the opportunity to compete in the job market with those non-stellar American workers out there.