WASHINGTON — Valerie Jarrett, a senior adviser to Barack Obama and a longtime confidant of the president, told reporters at breakfast the other day that there is an opportunity this summer for meaningful immigration reform.
Now that the primary season is over, she said, there is a rare chance the Republican-controlled House will adopt the compromise bill passed last year by the Senate, including the controversial path to citizenship for the more than 11 million immigrants in this country illegally. This will be supported, she said, by a new “groundswell” from around the country.
The astonishment in the room was palpable, but only one of those attending the Christian Science Monitor’s long-running early morning sessions with newsmakers took the time to question her prediction. He politely pointed out that it is diametrically opposite of not only the conventional wisdom but also clear indication that opposition to comprehensively overhauling the system without first closing off the southern border to infiltration whatever it takes actually has been strengthened by the primaries. That of course included foremost the defeat of Republican Majority Leader Eric Cantor of Virginia. Cantor’s loss to a tea party college professor was blamed partly on his efforts to advance immigration reform.
Furthermore, Jarrett’s opinion, which she said is shared by the president, seemed to ignore the fact that if the GOP House majority survives the coming fall elections, which it is expected to do, there may be little chance of dealing with immigration until after the 2016 presidential campaign, if then. That would be a certainty, once again the conventional wisdom asserts, if the Republicans should also gain control of the Senate, not an unreasonable forecast.
All this once again strengthened the validity of a long-held belief that something strange occurs to those who enter the gates of 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue and remain for extended periods. Call it a loss of reality, if you wish, but mainly it is the penchant to always put the best spin possible on whatever the supreme leader in the Oval Office deems is necessary for the good of the country even if it requires suspending or sublimating what one instinctively knows is the truth of the matter.