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Last Updated: Monday, 10 April 2006, 01:03 GMT 02:03 UK
US rally backs illegal migrants
Protesters in Dallas on Sunday 9 April 2006
Many of the protesters waved American flags
Tens of thousands of people have taken part in a rally in the US city of Dallas in support of the 11 million illegal migrants in the country.

They called on the Congress to approve a provision allowing the immigrants to stay in the US legally.

On Friday, the US Senate failed to reach agreement on a compromise deal that would allow illegal immigrants to apply for US citizenship.

On Monday, pro-immigrant groups plan nationwide rallies on the issue.

There are plenty of unemployed people here in the States who are physically capable of doing these jobs
Pleasance, New York, USA

The protest, which included many Hispanic families, was partly to counter conservative's plans to make illegal entry into the US a crime.

Demonstrators waved American flags and carried banners; many wore white, a symbol of peace.

Other demonstrations were held in the Texan city of Fort Worth and Miami in Florida.

Some protesters in the Dallas rally wore t-shirts saying "No HR 4437", referring to the House bill which proposes building more walls along the US-Mexico border.

US Border Patrol Agent Roy Salinas searches an illegal immigrant at a processing centre in Nogales, Arizona
About 500,000 illegal immigrants are thought to arrive every year
Police surrounded a group of about 20 counter-protesters who were in favour of uncompromising legislation passed in December which seeks to criminalise illegal entry from people without documentation.

President Bush proposes a "guest worker" programme, but this has stalled amid the Senate deadlock.

Monday's protests, which will take place in 60 of the country's major cities, could mark the beginning of a mass movement, with some analysts likening them to the civil rights protests of the 1960s, says the BBC's Sarah Morris in Washington.

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