The US Senate has passed an immigration bill that would give millions of illegal immigrants a chance to become American citizens.
The senate voted 62-32 for a bill that couples a guest worker programme with border security and enforcement.
It is potentially the most far-reaching reform of US immigration law in two decades.
It now has to be merged with a vastly different House bill that calls for tougher enforcement measures, including the criminalisation and deportation of illegal immigrants.
The Minister for Foreign Affairs, Dermot Ahern, has welcomed the news.
He said: 'I am very pleased that Senators have passed a comprehensive bill on immigration reform.
'Crucially, this bill contains provisions that would enable the vast majority of our undocumented citizens in the US to regularise their status, including a path to permanent residency.'