"Immigration reform is one of the top three or four issues in the country and will affect the next generation of Americans and it can't continue to be ignored," he said.
If Congress is unable to produce immigration legislation, Democrats are certain to blame the GOP and look to capitalize politically, not only with Hispanics but independent voters frustrated with the gridlock.
Asked if failure was a winner for Democrats, Connolly said, "We all presume so. In the short run that's less clear than in the long run."
Associated Press writers Erica Werner contributed to this report.