Today’s New York Times editorial offers a cogent explanation for why the major unions have come together in support of a comprehensive overhaul of our immigration system.

Stated simply, it makes economic sense for workers and organized labor. An undocumented work force that is abused and exploited by bad-actor employers undercuts not only U.S. workers, by lowering wages and damaging working conditions, but hinders organized labor’s ability to stand up for workers’ rights.

The strongest argument in favor of comprehensive immigration reform–the one that will catch the imagination of the American people, and maybe even force Congress to roll up its sleeves and get to work crafting a workable, safe, and orderly system–is about the future strength of the U.S. economy. Whether couched in terms of wages and working conditions of U.S workers or the availability of highly skilled professionals, America needs an immigration system that will meet the economic challenges we face today and into the 21st century.