The Nevada State Senate passed a resolution Monday urging the U.S. Congress to pass comprehensive immigration reform.

According to the resolution, the Nevada state senators said the comprehensive immigration reform bill should include an earned legal residency for undocumented immigrants that would result to a "clear push" to citizenship. The state senators also recognized the U.S. as a nation of immigrants and one-third of all U.S. businesses were started by immigrants in 2011.

"Nevada takes pride in having built a strong population of Nevadans from diverse backgrounds and cultures, recently ranking fourth in the nation of states with the highest 20 percentages of immigrants," noted the resolution. 

"This diversity in the State of Nevada is also comprised of talented students and hardworking persons who aspire to become citizens of the United States and contribute to the prosperity of this State which they call home," the resolution later stated.    

The Nevada resolution identified the state's population growth has been driven by "unauthorized" immigrants, including student immigrants.

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"Comprehensive immigration reform is the only solution to avoid separation of such families and offer them a chance to come out of the shadows and into mainstream America and to have equal rights, obligations and fair treatment in the workplace," the resolution reads.

"Such reform must include requirements that prohibit and prevent criminals from coming into our country and the mechanisms to reinforce our security at the borders, while ensuring a pathway to citizenship to legalized immigrants who have proven compliance with our laws and demonstrated fiscal responsibility," it further states.

The state senators called for a funding system to address the financial impacts that the comprehensive immigration reform legislation would have on all state-level governments.

"While congressional Republicans may have sidelined immigration for the time being, Republicans in the states are urging action," said Ali Noorani, executive director of the National Immigration Forum.

"Nevada's state senate resolution highlights the important contributions immigrants make to the state's economy and communities and reflects the opinion of the majority of Americans who support immigration reforms that welcome immigrants, respect the rule of law and better our nation. Nevada Republicans realize federal immigration reform is smart politics and smart policy -- it's about time Congress realized the same," Noorani added.

The Latino population in Nevada has been growing, according to the U.S. Census Bureau, which noted the population represents 27.5 percent of the state. The national Latino population average is 17.1 percent.

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