Iowa Republican Senator Chuck Grassley urged US companies to fire foreign workers first. That attitude embodies everything that is wrong with the thinking in Washington. Milton Friedman surely would agree that companies need to decide for themselves what employees should be laid off.
Fire Foreigners First is just the opposite medicine the economy needs. Who will take responsibility, Senator, when companies begin to fail because they lose crucial talent required for the company to continue with critical company operational initiatives? How many more companies would a policy like Firing Foreigners First cause to lose market share or worse fail?
Freedom to choose productive work knows no boundary in today’s multinational world. Ordering Microsoft, Texas Instruments, or Caterpillar, who all recently announced major job layoffs, to Fire Foreigners First is saying you cannot use resources from foreign sources. Capitol, equipment AND human resources should be free traded and free of excessive regulation.
Companies like Microsoft need to hire professionals from other countries in certain fields because there is a shortage of qualified Americans to meet the needs. Microsoft last year had petitioned Congress for more H-1B visas specifically to hire engineer programmers. About 60,000 professionals are currently needed in the US to fill high tech jobs.
Grassley said, “My point is that during a layoff, companies should not be retaining H-1B or other work visa program employees over qualified American workers.”
A spokesperson from Microsoft said what Milton Friedman would say. He said, “We care about all our employees, so we are providing services and support to try to help every affected worker, whether they are US workers or foreign nationals working in this country on a visa.”
Senator Grassley, I urge you to be a free trade conservative and move much more to the right. Let companies be free to choose which resources will help maximize profits, jobs and the overall health of the company.