Marco RubioMarco RubioScarborough: Trump has chosen the 'wrong side' THE MEMO: Trump reignites race firestorm RNC spokeswoman: GOP stands behind Trump's message 'of love and inclusiveness' MORE admitted his Cuban parents probably would not have been allowed into the United States under the immigration policies in his presidential campaign platform.
 
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The junior Republican senator from Florida, who is trying to get his struggling campaign back on course, was forced into a personal angle on his merit-based immigration policies in an MSNBC town hall on Wednesday night.
 
Addressing Rubio, a young man asked, "If you were to institute your merit-based immigration policy, wouldn't you be, I mean, shutting out people like your parents?"
 
Rubio replied, "Yeah, well, you wouldn't shut them out, but it's a different process. My parents came in 1956. The world is a different place from 1956. 
 
"When my parents arrived in the U.S. in 1956, my dad had a fourth-grade education, maybe. My mom had about the same. If they came today under those circumstances, they would really struggle to succeed."
 
Rubio said that "unless you have a certain level of skill or education, it's very hard to find a sustainable job" in the 21st-century economy. 
 
"So we always change policies when times change, and immigration policy's no different," he added. 
 
"And so, today in the 21st century, the immigration policy has to be primarily based on merit. That doesn't mean everyone's a PhD; it does mean when you come in you should be able to prove what skills you'll be able to bring to the U.S."