U.S. Senate passes immigration bill

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Associated Press

WASHINGTON (AP) - The Senate has passed historic immigration legislation offering the hope of American citizenship to millions, while promising a military-style surge to secure the border.
   
The vote was 68-32, far more than the majority needed to send the measure to the House. Prospects there are not nearly as good and many conservatives are opposed.
   
Vice President Joe Biden presided, and senators cast their votes from their desks, both steps reserved for momentous votes.
   
The bill, a priority for President Barack Obama, would amount to the most sweeping changes in decades to the nation's immigration laws.

Earlier story:

WASHINGTON (AP) - The Senate has advanced historic immigration legislation across the last procedural test and stands on the brink of final passage of the bill offering the prize of U.S. citizenship to millions.
   
The vote on final passage was set for Thursday afternoon. The bill, a top priority for President Barack Obama, would also pour billions into border security.
   
The 68-32 tally on the final procedural vote was well above the 60 votes required and indicates the bill commands the majority needed to pass the Senate and go to the House.
   
Prospects there are not so bright because many House conservatives oppose the path to citizenship for people here illegally. That provision is at the heart of the Senate bill.

Earlier story:

WASHINGTON (AP) - Although the Senate is poised to approve a historic immigration measure today, the disagreements on the issue are still clear.
   
Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid said on the Senate floor today that the bill is "landmark legislation that will secure our borders and help 11 million people get right with the law."
   
But Republican leader Mitch McConnell responded, "This bill may pass the Senate today, but not with my vote." And he predicted that it won't become law in its current form.
   
The outlook in the House is uncertain. Many House conservatives oppose the pathway to citizenship that's at the center of the Senate bill. And many of them prefer a piecemeal approach, rather than a sweeping bill like the one the Senate is producing.
   
A series of test votes in the Senate demonstrated that supporters have a bipartisan majority of well over the 60 votes needed to secure passage there.

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