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May 21, 2013 8:50 PM by ASSOCIATED PRESS

Senate panel approves immigration bill

WASHINGTON (AP) - The Senate Judiciary Committee has approved far-reaching immigration legislation that gives a chance at citizenship to millions living in the country illegally.

The 13-5 vote clears the bill for a Senate debate expected to begin early next month.

Committee approval came after the panel's chairman sidestepped a showdown on the rights of gay spouses, heeding appeals from the White House and others who feared such a vote could lead to the bill's demise in the Senate.

On a final day of drafting, the panel also agreed to a last-minute compromise covering an increase in the visa program for high-tech workers.

The landmark legislation creates new provisions to bring workers here legally and enforce against illegal immigration, as well as creating a path to citizenship for 11 million here illegally.

(Copyright 2013 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.)

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