The immigration reform movement took one giant step forward today with the formal launch of a new campaign, Reform Immigration FOR America, designed to achieve comprehensive immigration reform during the 111th Congress. The campaign, launched in 40 cities across the country, pulls together diverse voices from immigrant communities, progressive groups, civil rights organizations, business, labor, and community organizers to call on Congress for smart, practical reform of our immigration system.

Local immigrant right activists are rallying in cities such as Boston, Los Angeles, Miami, New York, Chicago and 35 more to the same drumbeat—immigration reform now. Like many other coalition leaders today, Joshua Hoyt, executive director of the Illinois Coalition for Immigrant and Refugee Rights, echoes the need for all coalition groups to work together to find practical solutions to our broken immigration system:

Our current immigration system is broken, everybody knows that. A reform will help America. It will be good for families, it will be good for workers and it would be good for our security. We have Catholics, we have evangelicals, we have Jews, we have Muslims, we have business, we have labor—working together to win immigration reform. We hope people will join us in fighting for sensible solutions.

The Reform Immigration FOR America campaign embodies what many policy makers have been saying for years—that without a comprehensive overhaul of our highly dysfunctional immigration system, we will never fulfill our potential as a nation. The campaign’s guiding principles include reform measures that benefit not just immigrants but all Americans—the majority of whom favor a path to citizenship for the roughly 12 million undocumented immigrants in this country:

Our vision of reform includes immigrants and native-born U.S. citizens working shoulder to shoulder to achieve better wages, working conditions, and labor protections. That’s our vision for a stronger America—for families, for workers, for businesses, and for security.

This is all the more true in tough economic times.  Recent Immigration Policy Center (IPC) reports and analysis demonstrate that immigrants in the work force are a net gain to the nation’s economy, and that rather than cause unemployment, immigrant labor complements the demand for native-born workers.  That’s not to say that the issue isn’t tricky, or that direct competition might not occur, but that we don’t do our nation or its economy any good by ignoring the economic opportunities a robust immigration system offers.

Nor is this only a question of economic contributions.  A comprehensive approach to immigration reform recognizes that every aspect of our immigration system requires overhauling.  Like a Rubik’s cube gone awry, aligning one side of the puzzle can frequently send other parts into disarray unless we work on all the sides at once.

Photo by Great Beyond.