Uh... This sentence: "There's a persistent belief in Washington that there's an easy "compromise" on the question of what to do with America's 11 million unauthorized immigrants: give them legal status instead of deporting them, but don't allow them to pursue citizenship." - is directly contradicted by this one: "76 percent of Americans who think unauthorized immigrants should be eligible for citizenship at some point."
Perhaps, and I know this will be shocking, Washington's persistent beliefs are stupid on this point. The "middle ground" is fixing the existing immigration and citizenship laws to provide a path to citizenship, because that's what most people want in some form. Even most conservatives support such measures. There is no need for a plan which somehow rejects citizenship as an option, or a plan which removes many millions of people. Because that's not actually what most people want. The latter does have a constituency, but it doesn't appear to be a very big one.
For the record I don't even think we should be doing much to keep track of the borders. Basically a lethal pandemic disease is about the only reason I can think of to be all that worried about who comes and goes as a systematic measure of border controls. If you're worried about terrorism border control isn't going to help you, better and more focused intelligence functions are to identify and track potential threats for terrorist acts, plus there are plenty of legal citizen status or native born Americans who do things we could otherwise regard as "terrorism".
As a result much of the problem with this debate is a belief about the borders at all being a point of contention when most of the people who immigrated have been here for years because we have an ineffectual immigration system for turning such people into citizens if they want to be. This probably why there's also a large constituency who demands mass deportations despite the futility, expense, and lack of any plausible benefit to doing so, and who is rarely heard from except during Republican primaries it seems. How this expensive and questionably moral project becomes a demand for a futile and wastefully expensive border control measure also I am less clear on.
Score One for United Airlines
57 minutes ago