A compromise in the US Senate on immigration reform has collapsed, just one day after an agreement had been announced.

Both Republicans and Democrats are blaming each other for a procedural wrangle that has stalled a compromise which was agreed just 24 hours ago.

The row centres on a number of amendments Democrats refuse to consider. They claim the amendments were a way of indefinitely stalling the passage of the bill.

Senator Ted Kennedy, a co-sponsor of the legislation, said 'politics got in the way of policy and there is enough blame to go around'.

The legislation is tabled for further debate when the Senate returns after its Easter recess on 20 April.

The debate over how to deal with an estimated 11 million illegal immigrants has sparked large protests in many US cities and more demonstrations are planned on Monday.

Under the terms of the proposed Senate bill, immigrants who have been in the US for five years or more will be granted a green card if they work for an additional six years, pay back taxes and a $2,000 fine.

Those who have been in the US for between two and five years will be permitted to work for another three years but will have to return to their home countries to apply for a green card. There is also no guarantee they will get it.

Those who have been in the country for less than two years will be required to leave but will be permitted to apply for a temporary worker visa.

There are estimated to be over 20,000 undocumented Irish in the US.

The Minister for Foreign Affairs, Dermot Ahern, has welcomed moves towards immigration reform.