CBS's 'freeSpeech' Segment on Couric's 2nd Day: Plugging Amnesty for Illegals

A night after giving its “freeSpeech” platform over to the liberal Morgan Spurlock to gripe about the lack of “civil discourse,” the CBS Evening News with Katie Couric on Wednesday employed the feature to help plug a Thursday protest in favor of amnesty for illegal immigrants. CBS put a soft and sympathetic edge on the topic by showcasing a Los Angeles Times reporter, Sonia Nazario, concerned about mothers in the U.S. separated from their kids south of the border. Couric set up Nazario by pointing out how, on Thursday in DC, there would be “a demonstration in favor of amnesty for millions of illegal immigrants.” The “freeSpeech” segment, Couric explained, would focus “on mothers who come here illegally, and the children they leave behind.”

Nazario began: “If we are going to start to solve our immigration problem and stay true to our family values, we need to understand the plight of hundreds of thousands of mothers now in the U.S. and the children they felt forced to leave behind in Central America. It's a humanitarian crisis.” Nazario is the author of Enrique’s Journey: The Story of a Boy’s Dangerous Odyssey to Reunite with His Mother. (Transcript follows)

Couric introduced the segment:
“Senate Majority Leader Bill Frist said today Congress is not likely to act this year on immigration reform, but that's probably not going to stop thousands of people from showing up in Mall in Washington tomorrow for a demonstration in favor of amnesty for millions of illegal immigrants. Tonight in our new 'freeSpeech' segment, where we invite a variety of Americans to give their two cents on issues they care about, the focus is on mothers who come here illegally, and the children they leave behind. The speaker is Sonia Nazario, a Pulitzer Prize-winning reporter from the Los Angeles Times.”
Sonia Nazario's commentary:
“If we are going to start to solve our immigration problem and stay true to our family values, we need to understand the plight of hundreds of thousands of mothers now in the U.S. and the children they felt forced to leave behind in Central America. It's a humanitarian crisis. What you probably don't realize is that each year, tens of thousands of Central American immigrants make a perilous journey clinging to the tops of freight trains to reach the U.S. Some of them are women -- single moms so desperate to feed their hungry children that they take them to garbage dumps to search for food.

“Many ultimately make a heartrending choice: they leave their children behind with a grandparent and head north, promising to return in two years-max. But once here, they struggle in low-paying jobs. What little they have they send to their kids. But they can't save enough to return home or to pay smugglers to get their children here. Many children feel abandoned and resent -- even hate -- their mothers for leaving them. The mothers often lose what is most important: the love of their child.

“Everyone favors a more secure border. But that won't keep desperate mothers out of our country or keep them and their children from trying to reunite. Walls will never stop them.
What we need to do is find ways to help Central American countries create more jobs so these women never have to leave their children. That's the only way we will slow a modern day exodus that's destroying families and taxing America.”

After Nazario's segment, Couric reminded viewers that Rush Limbaugh will have the “freeSpeech” slot on Thursday night -- and CBS plugged it in a bumper going into the next ad break.
Brent Baker
Brent Baker
Brent Baker is the Steven P.J. Wood Senior Fellow and VP for Research and Publications at the Media Research Center