A Trump-backing businessman in Erie, Pa. told CNN this week that he has had to hire Syrian refugees in recent months because so many native-born Americans living in the area are addicted to drugs.
Craig Quigley, the President of Sterling Technologies, explained to CNN that his company has become more reluctant to hire local workers because so many of them — around 20%, by his estimates — regularly fail drug tests.
“The immigrant workforce that’s here has filled a void that we had, that we were unable to fill with our local labor pool,” he said.
So how does Quigley square his employment of refugees with his support of a president who has regularly attacked businesses who hire foreign-born workers at the expensive of American workers? Quigley explained that he supported the president’s stance on tax cuts, but that doesn’t mean he wanted to have his immigrant workforce decimated by deportation raids.
“Do I want to see all of my people deported? Absolutely not,” Quigley said. “They’re part of this company, they’ve helped build this company. We can’t grow without people who want to do work.”
Quigley also said that he would gladly hire more American workers, but first more of them “have to get off drugs.”
One problem for many native-born workers who are recovering addicts is that their past addiction is a red flag that makes companies not want to hire them — no matter how long they’ve been clean.
Bethany, a 36-year-old former heroin addict, tells CNN that she hasn’t been able to get jobs at retail outlets or corner stores, as they don’t want to take a chance on someone with a past history of drug use.
“They just see my background, and that’s all they see,” she said. “They don’t see me as a person.”
Watch the whole segment below.