WASHINGTON -- Immigration reform has become the first of President Barack Obama's major priorities dropped from the agenda of an election-year Congress facing voter disillusionment.
Sounding the death knell was Obama himself.
The president noted that lawmakers may lack the "appetite" to take on immigration while many of them are up for re-election and while another big legislative issue -- climate change -- is already on their plate.
"I don't want us to do something just for the sake of politics that doesn't solve the problem," Obama told reporters Wednesday night aboard Air Force One.
Immigration reform was an issue Obama promised Latino groups that he would take up in his first year in office. But several hard realities -- a tanked economy, a crowded agenda, election-year politics and lack of political will -- led to so much foot-dragging in Congress that, ultimately, Obama decided to set the issue aside.
With that move, the president calculated that an immigration bill would not prove as costly to his party two years from now, when he seeks re-election, than it would today, even though some immigration reformers warned that a delay could so discourage Democratic-leaning Latino voters that they would stay home from the polls in November.
By Wednesday, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi offered little hope that the issue was still alive on Capitol Hill.
"If there is going to be any movement in this regard, it will require presidential leadership, as well as an appetite, is that the word? ... as well as a willingness to move forward in the Congress," she said.
House Republican leader John Boehner was more blunt. "There is not a chance that immigration is going to move through the Congress," he said Tuesday.