In the House, Rep. Zoe Lofgren, D-Calif., has under lock and key the draft of a broad compromise immigration bill agreed to in secret by Republican and Democratic negotiators in the last Congress. That bill was never introduced because of the raucous political environment, coinciding with the rise of the tea party, that made Republicans wary of sticking their necks out. But the document still exists and could be the basis of future talks. “It was a consensus product that would have worked and still could work,” Lofgren said in an interview last month. “It tells me that there is a place you can get to. Was it exactly the bill I would have written? No. But was it fair? And would it have worked? Yeah.”
No one denies that border states such as Arizona have dealt with more than their fair share of problems from illegal immigration. When Janet Napolitano was governor of Arizona in 2005, she declared a state of emergency along the U.S.-Mexico border. As DHS secretary, she has presided over ramped-up federal enforcement efforts against illegal immigration.
The problem has yet to be solved, and that is why Arizona is arguing before the Supreme Court for the right to address illegal immigration in its own way. Yet, however the justices rule on that question, it won’t alter the course of the conversations among policymakers on Capitol Hill.