UPDATE: Feinstein's amendment has been adopted by the Senate Appropriations Committee 17-12. The Hill has some details:
The Senate Appropriations Committee on Thursday added to an Iraq spending bill a controversial provision to help pave the way for undocumented agriculture workers to win legal status, a move that may reopen the divisive immigration debate on the Senate floor.Critics are denouncing this measure as "amnesty."
The so-called Ag-Jobs amendment, sponsored by Sens. Dianne Feinstein (D-Calif.) and Larry Craig (R-Idaho), would create a process that allows undocumented workers to continue to work on farms. Without the amendment, Feinstein warned that the U.S. would lose $5-9 billion to foreign competition, tens of thousands of farms would shut down and 80,000 workers would be transferred to Mexico. The bill would sunset in five years.
Numbers USA's offering some more details about this and other immigration-related amendments:
The copy of the amendment obtained by NumbersUSA indicates a maximum of 1.35 million illegal aliens, plus their families, could obtain "emergency agricultural worker status" for a five-year period. However, the amendment also provides for an adjustment of status, which paves the way for permanent legalization. The committee also adopted other immigration-related amendments, including one that drastically expands the H-2B visa program for non-agricultural seasonal workers.
This spending bill still needs to pass the Senate as a whole and then Congress as a whole and be signed. K-Lo's heard from an aide to Sen. David Vitter (R-LA) who says that Vitter will be putting forward an amendment to strike this Ag-Jobs language. A vote could be happening on this appropriations bill soon.
Malkin has some other information here. She also reports on this interesting seperate immigration-reform measure under discussion that may, among other things, seek to preempt local enforcement efforts.