How can we reform our broken immigration system when the economy is in shambles and unemployment continues to rise?  In fact, successful economic recovery requires that we fix our broken system.  The Obama Administration’s recent statements that it plans to roll up its sleeves and start making progress on this challenging issue is welcome confirmation of the views of the President.  And it is clear that the promise of reform will require a creative partnership between the Administration, Capitol Hill, grassroots communities, and businesses around the country where employers, families, communities of faith, and workers all firmly support forward-looking and comprehensive reforms that will put our nation’s immigration system back on track to meet the needs of a 21st century America.

Moving forward with comprehensive immigration reform will ensure that all workers are here legally, will punish unscrupulous employers who undercut their honest competitors, and will restore integrity to the labor market.  It will lift wages for workers, ensure all workers are paying taxes, and restore fairness to our immigration system.  It will eliminate punishing family backlogs and restore unity to divided families.  And it will create a new legal framework that will allow future temporary and permanent immigrants to meet the needs of the U.S. economy in a highly regulated and tightly controlled manner.

It is always easier to do nothing than to successfully achieve ambitious reforms through legislation.  Our Congress is deeply divided along partisan lines, and our new Administration has many urgent priorities facing it.  But doing nothing would be a terrible disservice to our country and to our future.  We need to require hardworking immigrants to come out of the shadows, to play by the rules, and the new rules must be enforced with professionalism and urgency.   The economic input, job growth, and innovation that are documented results of careful legalization programs will help speed economic recovery and put all Americans back to work—building America’s future.