WASHINGTON (AP) - The Senate voted Wednesday to limit debate on election-year immigration legislation, clearing the way for final passage later this week of a bill that calls for tougher border security as well as an eventual chance at citizenship for millions of men and women in the country illegally.
The vote to advance the measure was 73-25, 13 more than the 60 needed.
The outcome was not a surprise, and even some of the bill's opponents said they were satisfied they had been given ample opportunity over past weeks to try and give the bill a more conservative cast.
Final passage would set the stage for a difficult negotiation with the House, which passed legislation last year that exposes all illegal immigrants to criminal felony charges.
President Bush has repeatedly urged Congress to approve an immigration bill that generally follows the approach taken by the Senate.
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