Senate Democrats were unified on the vote.
Republicans were anything but on a bill that some party leaders say offers the GOP a chance to show a more welcoming face to Hispanic voters, but which tea party-aligned lawmakers assail as amnesty for those who have violated the law.
At its core, the Senate bill would create a 13-year pathway to citizenship for an estimated 11 million immigrants living illegally in the United States.
The measure also would create a new program for temporary farm laborers to come into the country, and another for lower-skilled workers to emigrate permanently. At the same time, it calls for an expansion of an existing visa program for highly-skilled workers, a gesture to high-tech companies that rely heavily on foreigners.
In addition to border security, the measure phases in a mandatory program for employers to verify the legal status of potential workers, and calls for a separate program to track the comings and goings of foreigners at the nation's seaports and airports.