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.
DAVID ESPO, Associated Press