Rubio hires immigration lawyer who imports workers for companies

Florida Republican Sen. Marco Rubio’s top lawyer in the closed-door effort to draft a new immigration bill is a Democratic donor who earns his living by bringing foreign workers into the country on behalf of corporations and universities.

The lawyer, Enrique Gonzalez, is a partner at the nation’s largest immigration firm, whose future depends on the outcome of Gonzalez’s closed-door work.

Rubio hired Gonzalez in January, when he was a partner at the Coral Gables, Fla., office of Fragomen, Del Rey, Bernsen & Loewy.

Gonzales’ LinkedIn profile describes his “skills & expertise” as “immigration law, H-1B, naturalization, citizenship appeals … [and] international law visas.”

Fragomen’s website says the firm has “a diverse client base ranging from individuals and small businesses to Fortune 500 companies … [plus clients in] Colleges, Universities and Research Institutions, as well as in the energy, entertainment, hospitality (including cruise lines), health care and technology industries.”

“We assist companies with all types of business immigration services, including a particular focus on corporate compliance issues (I-9 and E-verify), J-1 Exchange Visitor programs and H-2B visa issues [and] our vibrant individual practice encompasses investors (including EB-5), artists, entertainers and athletes, as well as a broad range of family immigration matters,” the firm said.

Gonzalez cut his ties to the firm when he left in January, R. Blake Chisam, a D.C.-based Fragomen partner, told TheDC. “It was a clean break,” he said.
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From 2008 to 2012, Gonzalez also donated $6,950 to Democratic Rep. Joe Garcia, who ousted Republican Rep. David Rivera from his Florida seat in 2012.

In January, Garcia applauded Rubio’s decision to join the “gang of eight” senators’ comprehensive immigration plan.

“I wholeheartedly welcome Senator Rubio’s and others evolution on this important issue, and welcome with them with open arms to  join our cause. … What is most encouraging about their plan is the earned pathway to citizenship, which must be reasonable and begin quickly,” he said in a statement.

Gonzalez did not contribute to any GOP candidates, according to the Open Secrets website.