The answer is that it won’t necessarily succeed one of these days. Amnesty as we know it can go away, just like the guaranteed income. Here’s my tentative simple, four step plan:

1. Block “Legalization First” bill in this Congress. We don’t have to worry about Congress passing a bill that would take steps to prevent another illegal immigration wave and then only then offer legalization. Such an “enforcement first” approach–designed to prevent a repeat of 1986, when enforcement measures were dropped once amneesty took effect–is a deal-breaker for Democrats. Immigration activist Frank Sharry says “our bottom line … is an inclusive, immediate path to legal status for the 11 million, and an achievable and clear path to eventual citizenship.” Emphasis on “immediate.”

2. Republicans hold on, and maybe even win the Senate in 2014, and hold on again in 2016. Sharry vows that if Republicans do block a bill, his side “will be kicking their ass” in 2014. But even pro-amnesty strategists like Mike Murphy concede that any ass-kicking is unlikely in the lower-turnout midterms. The presidential-year race of 2016 looks like the test. It’s entirely possible Republicans will nominate a candidate who embraces “legalization first,” while House members continue to display their current “tepid” enthusiasm. If they do and they retain their numbers, it’s unclear why even a President Rubio (let alone a President Clinton) would get them to change their minds.