In a House of Representatives Judiciary Committee Hearing on Thursday, Committee members debated H.R. 2278, the “Strengthen and Fortify Enforcement Act” (the SAFE Act) proposed by Immigration Subcommittee Chair Rep. Trey Gowdy (R-SC). The SAFE Act contains a myriad of immigration enforcement measures aimed at improving interior enforcement.

Amidst impassioned testimonies from witnesses as well as Representatives, Rep. John Conyers Jr. (D-Mich.) said the enforcement measures in the bill were simply too costly to enforce. “This is going to cost a lot of money…and most states and localities can’t afford it and I can attest that the federal budget can’t afford it.”

So then what does the Ranking Democrat on the House Judiciary Committee propose as an alternative? Yes, you guessed it, “comprehensive immigration reform!” (See Rep. Conyers’ press release)

By demanding “comprehensive immigration reform” (i.e. amnesty) instead of immigration enforcement, Rep. Conyers completely ignores the monetary consequences of a mass amnesty. In fact, according to the Heritage Foundation, the Gang of Eight’s amnesty bill currently being considered in the Senate will cost U.S. taxpayers $6.3 trillion over the course of the next 50 years.

But, not only does Rep. Conyers refuse to consider the cost of an amnesty to U.S. taxpayers, he fails to consider the costs of our government continuing to ignore our immigration laws. In fact, the Administration’s current system of turning a blind eye to illegal immigrants costs taxpayers billions annually, at a tune of $113 billion at the federal, state, and local level (nearly $29 billion at the federal level and $84 billion at the state and local level).

At the end of the day, Rep. Conyers’ statement opposing the bill on fiscal grounds illustrates nothing more than the pro-amnesty lobby’s amnesty-first, enforcement-never approach to fixing our nation’s immigration system. It is paradoxical to allow those who oppose an enforcement bill on the grounds of cost to the government, to support a comprehensive immigration bill that only perpetuates this country’s already severe deficit.