The murder of a 22-year-old nursing student in Georgia, allegedly at the hands of an illegal immigrant, is the lead news story across the nation. The angry reaction is likely one reason President Joe Biden made the surprise announcement he’s making a rare trip to the southern border this week.

Speaking of traveling to the border, Gov. Chris Sununu is sending New Hampshire National Guardsmen to Eagle Pass, Texas. And in both the New Hampshire and South Carolina presidential primaries, the current border chaos was the voters’ top concern, according to exit polls.

The immigration topic is so hot that even daytime TV host Dr. Phil McGraw is talking about it. On Monday’s episode of ABC News’ The View, he said children coming across the border under the current asylum system are being trafficked with the U.S. government’s help. “We are using American tax dollars to ship children into known prostitution and sweatshops,” McGraw said.

But voters looking for discussion of this front-page political news story in the Democratic race for Granite State governor will be disappointed. Both former Manchester Mayor Joyce Craig and Executive Councilor Cinde Warmington are a solid “no comment” to dozens of requests for comment. And there was no mention on their social media feeds Monday, either.

On the GOP side of the aisle, it’s the polar opposite. Both Republicans running for governor, Kelly Ayotte and Chuck Morse, posted first thing Monday morning decrying the death of Laken Riley, allegedly murdered by an illegal immigrant from Venezuela.

“Laken Riley and every other child who’s suffered from the results of #BidenBorderCrisis deserves justice,” Morse posted. “Joe Biden needs to close the border, end sanctuary cities, and reject amnesty for illegal immigrants. As governor, I will not let our state fall victim to this crisis.”

And in an op-ed for NHJournal, Ayotte called out the “extreme sanctuary policies” of Massachusetts — which is generating ugly headlines of its own — and warned Craig and Warmington would bring those policies to New Hampshire.

“On their watch, Massachusetts’ illegal immigrant crisis would become New Hampshire’s illegal immigrant crisis. If we don’t stop them, Craig and Warmington are ready to let our local businesses, homes, airports, and bus stops become shelters for illegal immigrants,” Ayotte argued.

It’s an argument Craig and Warmington have yet to refute. Despite dozens of questions about their current stance on sanctuary policies (both have publicly supported them in the past), both Democrats have adamantly refused to answer.

In fact, Craig sparked a wave of mockery with her repetitive “Marco Rubio”-style non-answer on camera when repeatedly asked for her stance on WMUR earlier this month.

The only mention of the border issue either candidate willingly made was when Warmington went out of her way to criticize Sununu’s decision to send Guardsmen to the southern border. Even then, Warmington stumbled on some basic facts.

The question is whether Craig and Warmington can continue to take incoming political fire from Republicans on the issue without paying a political price. With the head of their own party heading to the border and, according to published reports, considering bringing back Trump-era immigration restrictions, can the two Democrats keep playing dumb?

“Sooner or later, you have to talk about the number one issue,” says Neil Levesque, executive director of the New Hampshire Institute of Politics. And, Levesque notes, the reach of the border security issue is bigger than just the daily headcount of illegal crossings.

“If you add up crime, drugs, and immigration, there are a lot of interested and motivated voters.”

Dr. Nathan Shrader, who teaches political science at New England College, said he believes chaos at the border “is the most toxic issue for Democratic candidates at this point in the 2024 election cycle.”

“The national party painted itself into a corner by first making the border less secure and second, failing to take this problem seriously. This has left the national Democrats flailing and trying to find a way forward that resonates with the median voter.

“With that said, President Biden is apparently going to roll out a revised border policy in the coming days. Until that happens, I don’t think it makes much sense for the Granite State Democratic gubernatorial hopefuls to come out with their own border security policies at such an early moment in the campaign.”

Two brand-new polls show Biden’s numbers on immigration are abysmal.

The Hill reports that in the new Harvard CAPS-Harris poll, voters view President Biden’s handling of the border as his biggest failure.

And a new Monmouth Poll reports that “more than 8 in 10 Americans see illegal immigration as either a very serious (61 percent) or somewhat serious (23 percent) problem,” the highest number in at least a decade.

If Biden does take unilateral action at the border, that would be quite a political reversal.

Less than a month ago, Biden told reporters. “I’ve done all I can do” to stop the flow of migrants across the border, claiming he can’t do anything else until Congress acts.

“Just give me the power,” Biden said. “I asked [Congress] the very day I got into office. Give me the Border Patrol. Give me the judges. Give me the people who can stop this.”

It would also undermine the one public statement about border security they’re willing to make publicly: The border crisis is a failure of the GOP-controlled House, not the Democratic president.

It could be that, for Craig and Warmington, silence is the best of the bad options on border policy.