Arizona's new illegal immigration law has put the contentious issue front and center, but it's not a fight many are eager to enter. “When immigration is an issue, nobody wins,” ex-RNC Chair Ed Gillespie tells Politico. Democrats consider the law basically racist, and fear that if they don't pass a comprehensive federal response, more states will pass similar legislation. But Democrats from conservative districts are loath to cast yet another vote that could anger independents.
Republicans, meanwhile, fear that if they push too hard on the issue, they'll forever alienate the growing Hispanic demographic. “More and more Republicans are coming to grips with the idea that if we don't solve this problem, we can never be a national player,” says Lindsey Graham. But he added that if Democrats “try to jam a bill through this year … I tell you what: They could blow the last chance we'll have.”