Sold Out (book)

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Sold Out: How High-Tech Billionaires & Bipartisan Beltway Crapweasels Are Screwing America’s Best & Brightest Workers
Cover art for Michelle Malkin's and John Miano's book, Sold Out (2015)
Audio read byJuliet St. John
Cover artistJanet Perr
GenreNon Fiction
PublishedNovember 10, 2015
PublisherSimon & Schuster Audio/Mercury Ink

Sold Out: How High-Tech Billionaires & Bipartisan Beltway Crapweasels Are Screwing America's Best & Brightest Workers is a 2015 book authored by Michelle Malkin and John Miano, a displaced high-tech professional, author and attorney who specializes in business immigration law at the policy level.[1]

The book confronts the perception of a STEM professional shortage, exposes the flawed economics supporting the perception, and cites findings that offshore outsourcing firms are the predominant users of high-skill temporary employment-visas.[2][3] The book's publication follows media reporting that Pfizer,[4] Southern California Edison,[5] and Walt Disney World to name a few, have each forced hundreds of employees to train their foreign replacements or risk their severance, unemployment eligibility and professional references.[6] Additional studies cited conclude that a high percentage of qualified U.S. STEM professionals are unable to find employment in their field.[4][7]


Rather than an exposé on the illegal immigration topic, Sold Out highlights temporary-employment immigration, watered-down regulations, the lack of will and authority of regulators to vet applicants and investigate abuses.[8]

Malkin is the daughter of immigrants from the Philippines,[9] and Sold Out is a continuation of her writings on the immigration topic. Invasion (2002) was her first published book, a New York Times Best Seller reaching #14.[10] Collectively, Malkin refers to K street lobbyists, their multinational benefactors and the politicians who cave to their demands as crapweasels in Sold Out.[8]

Miano is a software engineer and author of numerous programming books, he is a founder of the Programmers Guild and has been a Fellow at the Center for Immigration Studies since 2008. He earned his J.D. from Seton Hall University and has testified before Congress on three occasions.[11][12]


In an interview and call-in segment on the Washington Journal (C-SPAN), Malkin and Miano noted bipartisan consensus on the topic among the callers, regardless of Malkin's known conservative leanings.[8]

Sold out clearly has a point a view about the program (crapweasels, for instance), but it backs up its assertions and gives H-1B supporters a high threshold to cross. A serious argument in defense of the visa program requires explaining how America gains when a U.S. worker is replaced by foreign visa holder hired to do the exact same job. If you are going to justify the H-1B program, then you have to defend firms that force their employees (no severance otherwise) to train their replacements.[13]

— Patrick Thibodeau, ComputerWorld

The book is not merely some populist jeremiad. From the beginning, Malkin and Miano present tables, footnotes and historical background to make their case against the various visas that companies use to import foreign workers. They date this trend back to the Immigration and Nationality Act of 1952, which created the H-1 and H-2 visas. They note “the H-1 visa differed from the H-2 visa in that it did not require showing that Americans were not available for the job”.[14]

— Brad Matthews, Conservative Book Review

For example, they show that “the administrations of both George W. Bush and Barack Obama sneakily expanded the foreign worker supply by administrative fiat, including expansion of the Optional Practical Training (OPT) Program, through which 560,000 foreign ‘students’ have been authorized to work in the U.S.” Sometimes this optional training is in convenience stores.[15]

— Malcolm A. Kline, Accuracy In Academia

After reading it, I must say that I agree with Matloff’s and Thibodeau’s assessments. The snappy, slangy, often incendiary prose suits the authors’ goal of reaching a popular audience as well as their anger at the labor conditions that have resulted from the widespread use of high-skill guest worker visas. No matter how overheated Malkin and Miano’s rhetoric may become, however, they never let emotion get in the way of solid research and analysis, and their 116 pages of supporting documents and footnotes cite sources from across the political and ideological spectrum, all the way from the conservative Breitbart News Network to the Economic Policy Institute, a nonpartisan think tank that aims to “include the needs of low- and middle-income workers in economic policy discussions,” according to its website.[16]

— Beryl Lieff Benderly, Science Magazine

See also[edit]

Selected listing of non-family preference visas where employment can be or is authorized.


  1. ^ Ian Smith (19 November 2015). "Bipartisan Support for Reforming a Long-Abused Guest-Worker Program". National Review. Archived from the original on 20 November 2015. Retrieved 20 November 2015. Key to H-1B abuse is the current “prevailing wage” standard, a mechanism designed to ensure that foreign professionals are paid at a level that doesn’t undercut American wages. But as Malkin and Miano note in their book, employers themselves determine what the “prevailing wage” is and can essentially use any source in support of their federal applications. As a result, it’s common practice for companies to satisfy the standard by simply submitting wage surveys to Labor Department adjudicators from incompatible regions in the country.
  2. ^ Sharon Machlis; Patrick Thibodeau (1 April 2014). "Offshore firms took 50% of H-1B visas in 2013". ComputerWorld. Retrieved 18 November 2015. The IT services firms among the top 20 H-1B users accounted for a little more than 50% of the annual base visa cap of 65,000.[...]The two largest H-1B users are Indian-based, Infosys, with 6,298 visas, and Tata Consultancy Services (TCS), with 6,258. In third place is Cognizant, which is based in New Jersey, but runs large offshore centers. These firms have long dominated the top H-1B list spots.
  3. ^ JULIA PRESTON (10 November 2015). "Large Companies Game H-1B Visa Program, Costing the U.S. Jobs". The New York Times. Retrieved 19 November 2015. The answer was simple: Many of the visas are given out through a lottery, and a small number of giant global outsourcing companies had flooded the system with applications, significantly increasing their chances of success. While he had one application in last year’s lottery and lost, one of the outsourcing companies applied for at least 14,000.
  4. ^ a b Josh Harkinson (22 February 2013). "How H-1B Visas Are Screwing Tech Workers". Mother Jones. Retrieved 18 November 2015. A 2007 study by the Urban Institute concluded that America was producing plenty of students with majors in science, technology, engineering, and math (the "STEM" professions)—many more than necessary to fill entry-level jobs.
  5. ^ Michael Hiltzik (20 February 2015). "A loophole in immigration law is costing thousands of American jobs". The Los Angeles Times. Retrieved 18 November 2015. They told us they could replace one of us with three, four, or five Indian personnel and still save money," one laid-off Edison worker told me, recounting a group meeting with supervisors last year. "They said, 'We can get four Indian guys for cheaper than the price of you.' You could hear a pin drop in the room.
  6. ^ JULIA PRESTON (3 June 2015). "Pink Slips at Disney. But First, Training Foreign Replacements". The New York Times. Retrieved 18 November 2015. Instead, about 250 Disney employees were told in late October that they would be laid off. Many of their jobs were transferred to immigrants on temporary visas for highly skilled technical workers, who were brought in by an outsourcing firm based in India.
  7. ^ Hal Salzman. "STEM Grads Are at a Loss". U.S. News & World Report. Retrieved 19 November 2015. Those who claim there's a STEM skills shortage are ignoring the evidence.
  8. ^ a b c Peter Slen (13 November 2013). "Guest Worker Programs" (Video). C-SPAN Washington Journal. Retrieved 20 November 2015. Authors Michelle Malkin and John Miano talked about their book, Sold Out: How High-Tech Billionaires and Bipartisan Beltway Crapweasels are Screwing America’s Best and Brightest Workers, and the current guest worker program.
  9. ^ H Y Nahm. "Michelle Malkin: The Radical Right's Asian Pitbull". GoldSea. Archived from the original on 19 November 2015. Retrieved 19 November 2015.
  10. ^ "BEST SELLERS: November 17, 2002". New York Times. 17 November 2002. Retrieved 18 November 2015.
  11. ^ "John Miano". Center for Immigration Studies. Archived from the original on 27 February 2016. Retrieved 27 February 2016.
  12. ^ "Author's Bio: John Miano". Conservative Book Club. Retrieved 1 December 2015.
  13. ^ Patrick Thibodeau (10 November 2015). "'Sold Out' offers a new look at the H-1B debate". Computerworld. Archived from the original on 28 November 2015. Retrieved 28 November 2015.
  14. ^ Christopher N. Malagisi. "CBC Exclusive Author Interview with Michelle Malkin On Immigration". Conservative Book Club. Retrieved 20 November 2015.
  15. ^ Malcolm A. Kline (23 November 2015). "Universities Exploit Illegal Immigrants". Accuracy in Academia. Archived from the original on 1 December 2015. Retrieved 1 December 2015.
  16. ^ Beryl Lieff Benderly. "Two sides of the H-1B". Science Magazine. Archived from the original on 7 January 2016. Retrieved 7 January 2016. Where this book really shines, however, is in its impressively detailed probe into the politics of immigration “reform.” The authors document how expensive lobbying and strategic donations have brought politicians of both major parties and all ideological persuasions to support increased high-skill migration, despite its deleterious effects. They do this in my own favorite section of the book, chapter 12, “Exposed: How Beltway Crapweasels Cooked Up the Gang of Eight’s ‘Comprehensive Immigration Reform.’
  17. ^ Meredith Rodriguez (4 July 2015). "New visa rule to benefit South Asian immigrants". Chicago Tribune. Archived from the original on 20 November 2015. Retrieved 21 November 2015. The suit was filed as part of "one battle in a larger war," Miano said. The permission given to H-4 visa holders to work, he said, is one example of the government trying to circumvent protections for American workers by allowing people to work on visas that are not intended as working visas.
  18. ^ Kenric Ward (2 December 2014). "Court ruling challenges Obama immigration action". Franklin Center for Government & Public Integrity. Retrieved 17 November 2015. Foreign students or recent graduates can use student F-1 visas to take jobs through OPT. Employers don’t have to pay them a prevailing wage, and they are exempt from Medicare and Social Security taxes, making OPT workers “inherently cheaper” than U.S. workers, the lawsuit argues.
  19. ^ Alan Neuhauser (9 September 2015). "50,000 Foreign-Born STEM Workers May Be Forced Home". U.S. News & World Report. Retrieved 17 November 2015. Labor unions and conservative immigration groups, by contrast, allege it essentially created a loophole, one that robs American workers of some of the fastest-growing and highly paid jobs in the country by making it easier for companies to hire young, recent graduates who, thanks to their student-visa status, are largely tax-exempt and therefore may be cheaper to hire.