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CNN Lets Two Illegal Immigrants Vouch For the Passage of the DREAM Act

CNN's 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 that?"

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:

CHETRY: 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 Republican support?

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.

VARGAS: 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.