Legal immigration to the United States would be drastically reduced and fewer relatives of U.S. citizens would be admitted under legislation moving closer to a Senate vote.

The Senate Judiciary subcommittee on immigration voted 5-2 Wednesday to send the measure to the full committee. Its author, Sen. Alan Simpson, R-Wyo., said he wrote the bill because too many foreigners are coming to America, competing with U.S. workers for jobs and overcrowding some areas of the country."The American people want immigration reduced," Simpson said before the vote.

Under the measure, the number of legal immigrants other than refugees would be reduced from the current 675,000 annually to around 525,000 - 75,000 immigrants coming here to fill jobs and 450,000 relatives of U.S. citizens.

In addition, the adult children and siblings of U.S. citizens no longer would be allowed to enter the country under their relatives' sponsorship.

Last year, 804,416 immigrants, including refugees and foreigners seeking asylum, entered the United States legally. Immigration, both legal and illegal, is likely to become an issue in next year's presidential campaign.

A similar bill awaiting a vote on the House floor would cut the annual total to 595,000 by 2001.