CBS Airs 'freeSpeech' Segment from Concealed Illegal Alien Pleading to Stay in U.S.

On Thursday night, for the second time in about two weeks, the CBS Evening News turned over its “freeSpeech” segment to a sympathetic person pleading for the rights of illegal aliens, this time a successful illegal who's done well. (So far, CBS has not run a commentary from anyone advocating a crackdown on illegal aliens.) Identifying him as an “illegal immigrant,” CBS concealed the identity of “Carlos” by using a fake name and putting him in shadow. He explained: “I cannot show you my face tonight because if I were identified I could be deported. After hearing my story, I hope that you will question whether this is what I deserve.” The college-age “Carlos,” whose family came in on a tourist visa when he was eleven and overstayed their visas, asserted: “Almost from the beginning my parents paid taxes, and two years after we arrived here, they applied for legal residency. Believe it or not, our application is still pending. That means my parents and sister and I can still be deported even though we did everything we were supposed to do to try to become legal.” Except follow the rules for their visa.

“Carlos” concluded: “I ended up graduating fifth in my high school class and have since graduated college and I hope to become a lawyer. But because I am undocumented, I could never get a license to practice law and that puts me in a state of limbo. I've grown up here and I feel American -- I just lack the piece of paper that validates it.” (Transcript follows)

Back on September 6, Katie Couric's second night, as recounted in a NewsBusters item, CBS employed the “freeSpeech” feature to help plug a 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 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.”

Katie Couric set up the “freeSpeech” segment on the September 21 CBS Evening News:
“Last week, the House voted to build a 700-mile fence along the Mexican border, and today it approved tough prison sentences for illegal immigrants caught tunneling under it. But Congress has no plans to do anything about the millions of illegal immigrants already here. In tonight's 'freeSpeech,' you'll hear from one of them. At his request, we're concealing his identity. 'Carlos,' as we call him, has been in the U.S. More than a decade and recently graduated from college.”
“Carlos,” in shadow:
“I cannot show you my face tonight because if I were identified I could be deported. After hearing my story, I hope that you will question whether this is what I deserve. My parents and I came here from Guatemala on a six month tourist visa. I was eleven years old. Before we left, our family business went bankrupt. We had lost our home there, and my parents could not afford to pay for school. So with the money we got from selling all our furniture, my parents bought airplane tickets and we came to the U.S. because it was our last hope.

“Within a year of my arrival, I was already in regular English classes and on the Honor Roll. My dad got a job in construction, my mom cleaned houses. Three nights a week, my parents, my nine year old sister and I used to pick up the garbage at a factory. On weekends, we collected bottles to recycle. Almost from the beginning, my parents paid taxes, and two years after we arrived here, they applied for legal residency. Believe it or not, our application is still pending. That means my parents and sister and I can still be deported even though we did everything we were supposed to do to try to become legal.

“I ended up graduating fifth in my high school class and have since graduated college and I hope to become a lawyer. But because I am undocumented, I could never get a license to practice law and that puts me in a state of limbo. I've grown up here and I feel American -- I just lack the piece of paper that validates it.”

At the bottom of the CBSNews.com page with the text of “Carlos,” CBS News posted this plug, with “English” in lower case:
"Carlos" is a young man who arrived in the United States without speaking english over 10 years ago, and recently graduated college. He aspires to become a lawyer.

His future and the future of thousands of other students who have grown up in the U.S. depends on the Development Relief and Education for Alien Minors Act (DREAM Act) now pending in Congress. For more information visit the website, www.dontjustdreamact.com.
For video of “Carlos,” check CBSNews.com's “freeSpeech” page.
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