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US Senate Reaches Deal to Discuss Immigration Bill

The U.S. Senate will revive discussion on its version of an immigration bill after Republican and Democratic leaders reached an agreement Thursday.

The Senate bill could provide millions of illegal immigrants a path to U.S. citizenship.

Senate leaders broke a weeks-long stalemate on the issue after agreeing on who would sit on a committee that would confer with the U.S. House of Representatives about any differences in their versions of the bill. A compromise bill resulting from the negotiations would be sent to President Bush for his signature.

The House version of the bill, passed last December, would make illegal immigration to the United States a felony and calls for building a fence along 1,000 kilometers of the border with Mexico.

President Bush has said he favors a comprehensive immigration policy that includes a guest worker program.

Hundreds of thousands of demonstrators have rallied across the country in recent weeks to demand more rights for illegal immigrants and to generally emphasize the importance of immigrants to the nation's economy and culture.

Some information for this report was provided by AFP and AP.