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Sweeping Immigration Reform Bill Passes Senate

(UPDATED) Gang of 8's original proposal drew support from Evangelical Immigration Table.

A majority of U.S. senators have voted to pass a broad immigration bill with a new path to citizenship path for unauthorized immigrants, according to the Associated Press.

Reuters reporter Collin McDonald, who liveblogged the Senate roll call to pass the first major immigration reform bill proposed since 2008, also broke the news, reporting that the final vote count was 68-32.

Now, according to Politico, "the onus of immigration reform (is) on the Republican-led House, where leaders have been resistant to the Senate legislation."

Samuel Rodriguez, president of the National Hispanic Christian Leadership Conference (NHCLC), called for the House to "finish the work their Congressional colleagues started."

"At the end of the day," he said, "passing immigration reform is not about advancing the agenda of the donkey or the elephant, but rather about living out the agenda of the Lamb."

Prior to the vote, senators anticipated receiving at least 68 votes for the measure. That falls "just short of the 70 votes they had hoped to earn, but a significant margin for any legislation in the often-divided chamber," the Washington Post reported.

The highly anticipated comprehensive immigration reform bill was revealed in April by the "Gang of Eight," a group of bipartisan senators including Sens. Marco Rubio, John McCain, Charles Schumer, and Richard Durbin, among others.

The new bill is the most extensive immigration reform bill to be proposed since 2008. The Washington Post reports that the new bill "aims to stem the flow of undocumented immigrants into the country by creating tens of thousands of new visas for foreign workers in low-skilled jobs."

It also would "give provisional legal status to an estimated 11 million illegal immigrants and put them on a pathway to citizenship, but only after several criteria for securing the U.S.-Mexico border are met," according to The Hill.

CT previously reported that the Gang of Eight's bill received support from prominent evangelicals, including Willow Creek Church pastor and founder Bill Hybels and the Evangelical Immigration Table (EIT). The EIT marks the nation's largest-ever immigration reform effort by evangelicals. In March, President Barack Obama affirmed "evangelical" immigration principles and said he was optimistic that Congress would approve an immigration reform bill.

Christianity Today weighed in on the issue of immigration reform in an 2006 editorial entitled, "Blessed Are the Courageous." CT Editor Mark Galli responded in a column several days later.

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