Obama says immigration bill conforms to his principles, urges Senate to start debate soon

WASHINGTON – President Barack Obama says a far-reaching immigration overhaul approved by a Senate panel is largely consistent with his own principles.

He says the bill meets the challenge of fixing a broken U.S. immigration system.

The Senate Judiciary Committee approved the bill in a 13-5 vote after the panel’s chairman agreed not to force a vote on his proposal to allow gay Americans to seek green cards for their spouses.

Obama says he hopes the bill will still be improved. He’s applauding the bipartisan Senate group that crafted the bill, which creates a path to citizenship for millions living in the country illegally.

Obama is urging the full Senate to take up the bill soon. Debate on the bill is expected to start early next month.