As immigrant protests continued to ripple through the country on Monday–22,000 students walking out of classes just in LA County–the Republican-dominated Senate Judiciary Committee voted to approve sweeping and liberalized comprehensive immigration reform.

With three GOP Senators voting with Democrats, the key Senate panel approved the broad outlines of what’s become known as the McCain-Kennedy bill.

The measure still faces a fierce and uphill battle on the Senate floor, with full debate scheduled for Tuesday. And approval of the measure pits the Senate directly against a starkly anti-immigrant House.

Monday’s vote, nevertheless, registers as a historic victory for reform advocates who have been fighting against the hypocrisy and denial that have marked border and immigration policy for decades.

Read the whole story here.