California's most immigrant dependent industries, agriculture and Silicon Valley, are pushing narrow measures through Congress in an effort to employ foreign workers at opposite ends of the labor market, people who pick vegetables and the post graduate engineers and scientists of Silicon Valley. Senator Dianne Feinstein attached a farm guest worker program to the giant Iraq spending bill Thursday in a last ditch effort to remedy a shortage of workers in California's produce fields as the Federal Government continues to crack down on illegal immigration and the political climate proves hostile to more sweeping measures. Rep. Zoe Lofgren, D-San Jose, teaming with Republicans, is pushing several bills to give permanent residence to top engineering talent.
The move marks an end for now to efforts to give farm workers a path to citizenship after a sweeping immigration bill failed in the Senate last June.
Lofgren has dropped efforts for now to expand a controversial H-1B program for temporary high skilled workers which again this year ran out of its 85,000 visas on the first day they were released.