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Immigration Reform Bill Clears Senate Panel

A wide-reaching immigration reform bill has been approved by the Senate Judiciary Committee. The legislation received bipartisan support, and can now be debated on the Senate floor. In addition to requiring the government to undertake new measures to prevent illegal immigration in the future, the bill provides an eventual path to citizenship for 11.5 million undocumented immigrants currently in the United States. The legislation also contains a provision to introduce a new visa program that would help workers in low skill jobs across the country.

The bill was not without controversy though; Judiciary Committee Chairman Patrick Leahy, a Democrat from Vermont, sought to add an amendment to the bill that would, in-effect, federally recognize same-sex marriage. The amendment was not approved as fellow legislators saw it as a point of contention with GOP lawmakers, who would possibly pull their support of the bill entirely if it was included. Critics of the amendment also argued that an upcoming ruling by the Supreme Court on the Defense of Marriage Act could render the proposed addition irrelevant …

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