Last week we celebrated the birth of our great nation and paid tribute to a society, culture and economy that have been driven by immigrants and their descendants. For 500 years, people from far-away lands have displayed a passion for America and the dreams it offered. The desire to protect those dreams led to the founding of the United States of America 237 years ago.

Fixing our broken immigration system is essential to continuing the American dream for the next 237 years. Comprehensive immigration reform is the right thing to do and the smart thing to do. We need an immigration policy that contributes to the workforce our country requires to maintain its global leadership in agriculture, manufacturing, technology and services.

We have learned from farmers in California that without this workforce, agriculture literally dies on the vine. Our high tech companies and emerging commerce sectors need skilled workers through the expansion of HB1 visas and programs that enable foreign students who graduate from our great universities to stay here and work after graduation.

Even as we send away highly skilled workers trained at American universities, competing economies are welcoming these scientists and engineers with streamlined visa applications. Now is the time to ensure that the U.S. remains the world’s leading home for innovators.

Beyond addressing workforce needs, our nation will benefit by bringing millions of undocumented immigrants out of the darkness and into the light with jobs that pay taxes and offer a path to earned citizenship. The result will be more taxpayers and stronger families because experience shows a 14 percent rise in income when a head of household becomes a full citizen.

We must ensure that our borders are strong and provide the technology employers need to verify the legal status of applicants. Any path to citizenship must also include a robust criminal background check to assure that applicants can meet their responsibilities to society.

We applaud the 68 U.S. Senators who looked beyond partisanship and passed a comprehensive immigration reform bill. We now call on the members of the House of Representatives to reach beyond partisanship as well. As a country, we must do what is practical, necessary and right by passing comprehensive immigration reform. All of the men who signed the Declaration of Independence were immigrants or descendants of immigrants. Their courage and bold vision changed the world.