Kiran Chetry helped two illegal immigrants lobby for the passage of the
DREAM Act on Wednesday's American Morning, which would grant amnesty to
hundreds of thousands of illegal immigrant youth. Chetry encouraged
them to express their concerns for the legislation, as many Republicans
in Congress don't support it, and tossed softball questions, which gave
them ample time to vouch for the act.
The anchor interviewed Cesar Vargas and Gaby Pacheco 40 minutes into the 7 am Eastern hour. Chetry labeled the two "classic examples of who this DREAM Act would help, if it were to pass the Congress" (both were also held up as examples by the Obama administration as two out of the "10 Reasons We Need the Dream Act," as listed on the White House's blog on December 3).
She turned to Vargas first and asked, "Are you worried that this [bill]
will fail, since there has not been a lot of Republican support?"
After he gave his initial answer, the CNN anchor played up his credentials: "If you take a look at your resume, I guess you could put it, it's very, very impressive.
You are going to be graduating from law school in May. You have a 3.8
GPA. You've interned with the Brooklyn DA. You've worked very hard, yet,
at the same time, you really can't legally work once you graduate. So
what is your plan right now, Cesar?"
Chetry then did the same with Pacheco: "Gaby, as well, you've worked hard at school, an honor student- president of your student body in college-
and you likened it- it's interesting- you said, 'I went from being
this- you know, all-American- played on sports teams, did really well in
school- to now being a criminal.' What are you going to do?"
Later, after listing the DREAM Act's requirements for illegal
immigrants, the anchor prompted Pacheco to address a specific
Republican's opposition to the proposed legislation: "So Gaby, I want
your take- when somebody like Senator Jeff Sessions, the Republican from
Alabama, calls it a bill that would result in reckless proposals for
mass amnesty and encourage more illegal immigration, what do you say to
CNN didn't turn to any opponents to the bill during the segment. It's
just another example of the network "playing favorites," contrary to their claim in a recent ad.
The full transcript of Kiran Chetry's interview of Cesar Vargas and Gaby Pacheco on Wednesday's American Morning:
Well, today, Congress could vote on the DREAM Act, giving almost a
million illegal immigrants a path to citizenship by going to college, or
for serving in the military for two years. But critics are calling it
reckless, and call it mass amnesty in some cases.
We are joined now by two people, both illegal immigrants, who would be
directly impacted by the bill. Cesar Vargas' parents brought him to
Brooklyn from Mexico when he was just five years old, and Gaby Pacheco's
parents came from Ecuador when she was seven. Great to have you both
here this morning.
CESAR VARGAS: Thank you for having us.
GABY PACHECO: Thank you.
CHETRY: You really are classic examples of who this DREAM Act would
help, if it were to pass the Congress. Cesar, let me start with you. Are
you worried that this will fail, since there has not been a lot of
VARGAS: Well, all I know is that I'll continue to fight for my dream.
America's a can-do country, and I would do just that- persevere.
Overall, all I want is the opportunity to serve my country and to give
back to the country that has given me so much.
CHETRY: If you take a look at your resume, I guess you could put it,
it's very, very impressive. You are going to be graduating from law
school in May. You have a 3.8 GPA. You've interned with the Brooklyn DA.
You've worked very hard, yet, at the same time, you really can't
legally work once you graduate. So what is your plan right now, Cesar?
VARGAS: At this point, as I mentioned before, it's fighting for my
dream and to share my stories to our congressional leaders and to say
that we're not a problem. We're the solution. We are here to serve our
country. For me, personally, I want to serve my country in the military,
and also, to contribute to the economy and to serve and contribute to
the country I love, the country I call home.
CHETRY: Gaby, as well, you've worked hard at school, an honor student-
president of your student body in college- and you likened it- it's
interesting- you said, 'I went from being this- you know, all-American-
played on sports teams, did really well in school- to now being a
criminal.' What are you going to do?
PACHECO: Well, I'm going to continue to fight and we're going to walk
the halls of Congress and we're going to let the people know, like
Senator Lemieux from Florida, that Mel Martinez was a champion for the
DREAM Act, and he needs to do the right thing for Florida. As a matter
of fact, 70 percent of the people- voters in the United States support
the DREAM Act, and what we're saying is to please give us a chance, give
us an opportunity to serve and give back.
CHETRY: I just want to let people know what exactly the DREAM Act would
be- the requirements. You have to be under the age of 29, and you also
would have to arrived in the U.S. before turning 16- like you two. You
were brought over with your families. You have to be in the U.S. for
five years, graduate high school, or have a GED, have a clean record
and- quote, 'good moral character.' You would also then have to wait 10
years before gaining legal residency. So Gaby, I want your take- when
somebody like Senator Jeff Sessions, the Republican from Alabama, calls
it a bill that would result in reckless proposals for mass amnesty and
encourage more illegal immigration, what do you say to that?
PACHECO: Well, that's not true. What's going to happen is only the
people that are here, the people that have been living here- myself,
I've been living in the United States for 18 years- I'm an American. The
only thing is that I haven't had a path- I haven't had a way to
legalize my status, and the DREAM Act would do just that, and- you know,
after the 10 years, I would be able to become a resident. And then- you
know, there's still a waiting period for me to be able to get my
citizenship. So it's a very long process, but it would give us the
opportunity to work, to go to college, to serve in our military, be on
the front lines, and give back to our country.
CHETRY: And Cesar, this is the other ironic part for you is that- you
know, you want to stay here. You said you want to contribute to the U.S.
economy. You're sort of up against a wall, unless this gets passed. But
you've had offers from other countries- China, Spain, perhaps Canada,
that really want you and your brain power.
And that shows my commitment to this country. I love this country. This
is my home. I don't want no medals- no awards. All I want is the
opportunity to share in the American dream. You know, in my heart and
soul, I am an American.
CHETRY: Well, best of luck to both of you. You're doing very well for
yourselves, and we'll see what happens as this goes before the Congress.
Thanks so much, Cesar Vargas and Gaby Pacheco, for telling your stories
to us this morning.
VARGAS: Thank you.
PACHECO: Thank you.
- Matthew Balan is a news analyst at the Media Research Center. You can follow him on Twitter here.