Senate Panel Clears Immigration Reform
Full chamber should vote next month
By Newser Editors and Wire Services
Posted May 21, 2013 7:21 PM CDT
Senate Judiciary Committee Chairman Patrick Leahy, left, confers with Sens. Chuck Schumer and Dianne Feinstein on Monday.   (J. Scott Applewhite)

(Newser) – Far-reaching legislation to grant a chance at citizenship to millions of immigrants living illegally in the United States cleared the Senate Judiciary Committee on a solid bipartisan vote tonight after supporters somberly sidestepped a controversy over the rights of gay spouses. The 13-5 vote cleared the way for an epic showdown on the Senate floor on the measure, which is one of President Obama's top domestic priorities yet also gives the GOP a chance to recast itself as more appealing to minorities.

In addition to creating a pathway to citizenship for 11.5 million immigrants, the legislation creates a new program for low-skilled foreign labor and would permit highly skilled workers into the country at far higher levels than is currently the case. At the same time, it requires the government to take costly new steps to guard against future illegal immigration. Sen. Patrick Leahy, the Vermont Democrat who serves as chairman, sparked a late debate over his proposal to give same-sex and heterosexual spouses equal rights under immigration law. "I don't want to be the senator who asks people to choose between the love of their life and the love of their country," he said. Supporters convinced him it could torpedo the legislation.

Copyright 2016 Newser, LLC. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed. AP contributed to this report.

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Showing 3 of 55 comments
NorCalHal
May 24, 2013 11:15 AM CDT
Instead of thinking of it as a "pathway to citizenship for 11.5 million "immigrants"" I prefer the more accurate description "rewarding 11.5 million CRIMINALS".
KimKendall
May 23, 2013 7:34 AM CDT
can we persuade future boston bombers to target our corrupted legislators?
clmsman
May 22, 2013 11:18 AM CDT
Gab you ankle and lube yourself up your going to be screwed like you never have in the past. This piece of crap will make Obamacare look like a new traffic law.