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Firing Foreigners First

Publication Date: 
March 06, 2009

Senior Lecturer in Law and Associate Dean for Executive Education and Special Programs Dan Siciliano is interviewed for a news segment on CNBC about whether foreign workers who hold H1-B visas should be fired before American workers given the current economic crisis. Below is an excerpt of the interview:

CNBC: Dan Siciliano is associated Dean at Stanford Law School and senior fellow at the Immigration Policy Center.

...Dan I want to start with you, as an educator—coming from that universe, the world of academia—do we not have enough home-grown talent here in the United States to make up for this gap and on top of that, why?

Siciliano: At this moment, I think, particularly in the tech sector, if you pay attention to the list of companies we just highlighted, none of them are receiving TARP funds, relatively speaking they’re doing quite well and frankly we do not have sufficient talent at the cutting edge technology level to allow them to move forward quickly with innovations and fast growth and to ultimately employ more U.S. workers. The H1-Bs we’re talking about in these stories are often times folks who have recently acquired their skills in advanced engineering programs and they bring to the companies that they work for the chance of building larger teams and they have this echo or multiplier effect in the economy. And it’s important, in this case, not to throw the baby out with the bath water.


Siciliano: I think that’s a little disingenuous because it mixes apples and oranges. You take within a given company the wage of all employees of a particular type and you compare it, you don’t end up with that answer. Microsoft, for example, even citing the Center for Immigration Studies, if you look at the Microsoft multiple relative to other employees—it’s called the MT, a metric that CIS came up with—they have what’s called a 1.19 multiple. That’s a fancy way of saying that the H1-Bs that were studied were paid significantly more. I think if we talk about the abuses, I’m on board. Let’s crack down on abuses and on anybody who’s using abusive body shops. The examples that were cited, those are bad examples. People who are U.S. workers should not lose their jobs in favor of an immigrant, but we can’t get rid of H1-Bs because it will hurt U.S. workers.