House Speaker John Boehner (R-Ohio), with GOP representatives behind him during a January 2012 news conference.
In background from left: Rep. Tim Murphy (R-Pa.), Rep. Shelley Moore Capito (R-W.Va.), and Rep. Fred Upton (R-Mich). Getty

Advocates of immigration reform with a path to citizenship for the nation's 11.7 million undocumented immigrants saw their hopes for legislation dealt a serious blow on Wednesday. House Speaker John Boehner (R-Ohio) told reporters at a press conference that his party's majority in the House, which has refused to consider a comprehensive immigration bill passed by the Senate in June, would not negotiate a compromise involving a combination of House bills and the Senate overhaul. "We have no intention of ever going to conference on a Senate bill," he said.

Boehner and other members of the House Republican leadership had previously rejected the Senate's overhaul, saying they did not trust the Department of Homeland Security and the Obama administration to enforce portions of the bill which would put the US-Mexico border under total, constant surveillance and require the DHS to turn back at least 90 percent of would-be unauthorized crossers in high-traffic zones along the border. House Republicans sought to hinge the progress of newly legalized immigrants on their path to a green card and citizenship directly upon the completion of those border-enforcement goals, saying the Senate bill could let the DHS fail to meet its goals without any consequences for immigrants who once resided in the United States illegally.

On Wednesday, Boehner repeated his opposition to the Senate bill and reiterated that he would not introduce it to the House floor for consideration. But his new assertion that he would not negotiate with the Senate, combining its comprehensive bill with a series of small, single-issue immigration bills crafted by House Republicans to produce a compromise, means a bill which extends a path to citizenship to the undocumented - the heart of reform for most Democrats, including President Barack Obama, but one which has had questionable support among House Republicans - looks increasingly unlikely.

"This is about trying to do this in a way that the American people and our members can absorb," Boehner said, adding that immigration reform is too complicated to rush, according to NBC News. "There are hundreds of issues involved in dealing with immigration reform, and we've got to deal with these in a common sense way where our members understand what we're doing and their constituents understand." He would not comment on whether he would introduce any of the five small, House Republican bills dealing with reform to the House floor for a vote before the end of 2013, but said that House Judiciary Committee Chairman Bob Goodlatte (R-Va) "is working with our members and across the aisle on developing a set of principles for us to deal with this issue."

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