Senate on verge of approving immigration legislation

    11:13 AM, Jun 27, 2013   |    comments
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    WASHINGTON (CBS) -- The U.S. Senate is on the verge of approving immigration legislation that would offer a path to citizenship for millions. It would also spend billions to secure the border. The Senate is moving closer this morning to passing historic immigration reform.

    Sen. Harry Reid says, "This landmark legislation will secure borders and help 11 million people get right with the law."

    Final passage could come as early as this afternoon. The bi-partisan bill offers a path to citizenship for the millions of immigrants living in the country illegally. It also calls for 20,000 new border patrol agents and 700 miles of new fencing along the U.S. border with Mexico.

    The $30 billion plan to secure the border was designed to win over more Republicans. But so far, not everyone is convinced. Sen. Mitch McConnell says, "If you can't be reasonably certain the border is secure millions more will follow those already here."

    Still, a series of earlier test votes showed the legislation will get a bipartisan majority well over the 60 votes needed to pass.

    But, the bill will still be a tough sell in the Republican-controlled House where many conservatives oppose the pathway to citizenship.

    Backers of the Senate bill hope strong bipartisan support in that chamber will put pressure on some House Republicans to change their minds.

    If the Republicans agree to forgo 30 hours of debate, the Senate bill could pass later today. Without that agreement, the final vote will be tomorrow evening.

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