US Senators are debating measures that will determine the future of thousands of immigrants now living in the Stateline illegally.
"I hope we will consider this bill on a bipartisan basis," says Senator Dick Durbin.
Many immigrants in the Rockford area who are trying to become American citizens use services at La Voz Latina. The executive director of the organization hopes the Senate will pass a law that would legalize these immigrants through temporary worker programs.
"It's ideal for people to be able to go through a process and become legalized and eventually citizens if they choose." says Patricia Gomez.
That law has been passed by a senate judiciary committee and is currently under debate by congress. Another proposal that has sparked protests across the country would make undocumented immigrants felons.
"That's the way it should be. I'm tired of hearing how America is so stringent on immigration laws. We're a country at war, we have to know who's coming in here," says Rosanna Pulido, the Illinois director of the Minuteman project.
But Senator Durban disagrees. "It is a bill that is not in the spirit of America. Criminalizing 11 or 12 million people and calling them aggravated felons is no way really to embark down this road to a more united America."
Much of the debate surrounding the laws comes down to whether illegal immigrants are an economic advantage or a drain on taxpayers.
"The immigrants here in the Rockford area are hard working people that are adding a lot to the community," says Gomez.
"We provide education, emergency assistance for illegals, infrastructure from American taxpayers," says Pulido.
Now that this issue has come to the forefront tensions in this decades old dispute are rising to their highest levels.