By a vote of 13-5, the Senate panel approved the bipartisan immigration bill on Tuesday that would offer 11 million undocumented immigrants a 13-year path to citizenship. The crowd in the room cheered when the final vote count was read, and chanted, “Yes we can!” and “Si se puede!”
The infamous gang of eight, including Marco Rubio (R-Fla.) and Bob Menendez (D-N.J.), also agreed on improving the security along the southwestern border in order to prevent illegal crossings into the U.S. and providing "earned" citizenship. Now their votes introduce a bigger immigration debate in the full Senate floor next month.
“I encourage the full Senate to bring this bipartisan bill to the floor at the earliest possible opportunity and remain hopeful that the amendment process will lead to further improvements,” said President Barack Obama in a statement released by the White House.
Although advancements have been made, the current law does not allow same-sex couples to petition for legal status for the foreign-born partner. The gang of eight did not include measures that would allow gay marriage couples the same right as heterosexual married couples to petition for legal status.
Democrats in the group fought to include the measure in the bill, however it was not added. According to Huffington Post, Obama supports including the LGBT community in the measure, but the White House confirmed that he would pass the bill without it.
Around 70 votes will be needed to win over the majority on the Senate floor.
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