WASHINGTON (AP) - The chairman of the Senate Judiciary Committee says the time has come to pass comprehensive immigration legislation with a pathway to citizenship for the nation's 11 million illegal immigrants.
Democratic Sen. Patrick Leahy of Vermont made the comments as he opened the Senate's first hearing of the year on immigration. It came a day after President Barack Obama used his State of the Union address to renew his call for sweeping immigration legislation.
The emotion surrounding the issue quickly became clear in the packed Senate hearing room as shouting protesters interrupted the first witness, Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano, calling for an end to deportations.
The protesters were taken out. Napolitano said the border has never been more secure.
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