This week the Senate is expected to again take up a bill known as the DREAM Act. The legislation would help the children of illegal immigrants remain in the country to get an education or serve in the military.
Gaby Pacheco came to the U.S. illegally from Ecuador when she was seven years old.
Now she's 24 and studying to earn her bachelor's degree in special education at a D.C.-area community college.
From her point of view, passage of the DREAM Act would simply allow her life to continue unfolding.
"...I would be able to start working right away and continue my education -- I've been working on my master's and my Ph.D in music therapy," Pacheco says.
Jack Moline is a rabbi at an Alexandria Synagogue and a member of the Interfaith Alliance, which supports the DREAM Act.
He says doing what's fair for people brought to this country as minors shouldn't be thought of as amnesty.
"They didn't do anything wrong, and therefore there's nothing to forgive them for," Moline says. "We're looking to legalize a fact, we're not looking to create new facts on the ground."
But Bob Dane, with the Federation for American Immigration Reform, says current versions of the bill would allow many illegals up to the age of 35 to qualify.
"It's pretty clear, transparent, that the DREAM Act is a massive amnesty bill that offers amnesty to a population much larger than just the kids," Dane says.
The Senate has been debating the Dream Act periodically since 2001.