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July 09, 2013 5:21 PM The Vanishing Unicorn

By Ed Kilgore

So if the growing chorus of conservative denunciation of the Senate immigration bill, and the large majority of GOP Senators opposing it, and the redundant threats to John Boehner by House Republicans that he’ll lose his gavel if he brings a bill to the floor they oppose, and Boehner’s own redundant promises to respect the Hastert Rule, and the adamant pledges of the relevant House Committee chairman that he won’t support “amnesty”—if all that doesn’t shake your iron conviction that Republicans will somehow allow comprehensive immigration reform to become law because they “know” they need it to (a knowledge more and more of them are angrily denying)—then here’s another data point, per TPM’s Brian Beutler:

At the Capitol, House Speaker John Boehner stated a specific policy preference Tuesday that will alienate the entire Democratic Party if he adheres to it, and thus doom the reform effort. And elsewhere in the Beltway, influential conservatives have grown more confident and explicit about abandoning the immigration issue, for at least a couple of years.
Taken together, it means that enacting new immigration legislation will either require Democrats to cave on a key demand, or require Boehner to abandon his preference and break his word to his conference that he won’t move ahead without a majority of his members in support.
“It’s clear from everything that I’ve seen and read over the last couple of weeks that the American people expect that we’ll have strong border security in place before we begin the process of legalizing and fixing our legal immigration system,” Boehner said outside the Capitol Monday afternoon.
His spokesman Michael Steel explains that the statement is consistent with Boehner’s “long-standing emphasis on border security.”

Beutler drew the obvious conclusion:

The already narrow path to enacting comprehensive immigration reform pretty much disappeared in the past 24 hours.

On a couple of occasions I’ve quoted Ezra Klein’s description of immigration reform as a “unicorn” for those who believe against all odds that it will be enacted. I guess some people still see it, but at this point it has to be via a sheer act of faith.

Ed Kilgore is a contributing writer to the Washington Monthly. He is managing editor for The Democratic Strategist and a senior fellow at the Progressive Policy Institute. Find him on Twitter: @ed_kilgore.

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