House Speaker John A. Boehner this week effectively declared immigration reform dead, at least for this year.

“I'll make clear we have no intention ever of going to conference on the Senate bill,” the Ohio Republican said Wednesday, referring to to a bipartisan comprehensive immigration bill that cleared the Senate earlier this year.

Of course, it didn’t take long after Boehner made it official for the blame game to begin. What killed immigration reform? Was is the botched rollout of the Affordable Care Act? Or perhaps it was a time-management issue, as Rep. Kevin McCarthy (R-Bakersfield) suggested last week. After all, the GOP-led government shutdown did cut into the number of days left for the House to act.

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I prefer to blame it on next year’s midterm elections. As my colleague Doyle McManus noted last month, “the Republican Party is at war with itself.” It’s a case of moderates versus hard-liners within the GOP who oppose, among other things, immigration reform.

So it is little wonder that the Republican leadership wants to avoid a vote on immigration reform, fearing it might leave some of the more moderate members of the party vulnerable to challenges from tea party candidates in the 2014 primaries.

But Republicans shouldn’t shoulder all the blame for the failure to fix the nation’s dysfunctional immigration system. After all, we wouldn’t be having this debate if Democrats had passed comprehensive immigration reform in 2010, when they controlled both the House and the Senate.

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