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Melissa Sanchez

Reporter

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Melissa Sanchez is a reporter at ProPublica Illinois. She has lived in Chicago since 2014, writing primarily about education for the nonprofit magazine Catalyst Chicago and later its sister publication, The Chicago Reporter. Her stories there looked at the extraordinary costs of allowing private investors to finance public preschool programs, access to higher education for undocumented students and lax enforcement of city and state labor laws, among other issues.

Before coming to Chicago, she reported en español for el Nuevo Herald, the Miami Herald’s Spanish-language sister paper, on everything from rampant absentee ballot fraud and abusive police towing practices to a deadly prison fire in Honduras. And before that, she wrote about immigrants and gangs for the Yakima (Washington) Herald-Republic, and reported from Nicaragua through a fellowship from the Inter American Press Association.

Chicago City Council Approves Modest First Reforms on Ticketing and Debt

The changes signal a growing acknowledgement that the city’s reliance on fines and fees to generate revenue has come at a significant cost for some residents.

Top Chicago Alderman Adds to Growing Momentum for Ticket and Debt Reform

The proposal, the latest in a series of reforms aiming to respond to growing public pressure, would make it easier for motorists to avoid having their driver’s licenses suspended.

Chicago Considers Wiping Away Old Ticket Debt for Motorists Who File for Chapter 7 Bankruptcy

The proposal is intended to discourage drivers from filing for Chapter 13 bankruptcy, but it does nothing to change onerous payment plans for motorists who don’t file at all.

Chicago Alderman Proposes Reining in Ticket Penalties That Drove Thousands of Black Motorists Into Debt

The proposal would cap late penalties and create community service alternatives to some fines.

Twitter Used to Feel Like a Chore. Now It’s a Powerful Friend (And Fun).

It helps showcase our work and add context and value to our stories. It’s also a good way to get pizza from us.

Chicago City Clerk Calls for Reforms of Vehicle Sticker Program

Anna Valencia proposed creating city sticker options so low-income drivers can afford to be in compliance and avoid costly tickets.

Crossing the Divide: The Challenges and Rewards of Working in Spanish-Language Media

A conversation with Chicago journalist Jackie Serrato about bottom-up reporting, building trust and covering local arrests by ICE.

Esto es lo que pasó a los 99 niños inmigrantes separados de sus padres y enviados a Chicago

Documentos confidenciales revelan detalles sobre los problemas para encontrar a los padres y las experiencias traumáticas durante la política de tolerancia cero de la administración Trump.

Here’s What Happened to the 99 Immigrant Children Separated From Their Parents and Sent to Chicago

Confidential records reveal details about struggles to find parents and traumatic experiences during the Trump administration’s zero-tolerance crackdown.

Mientras pasan los meses en albergues de Chicago, menores migrantes contemplan fugarse y hasta suicidarse

Documentos internos revelan la desesperación y el tedio en una de las más grandes redes de refugios para menores en la nación.

Did Three Immigrant Teens Run Away From a Chicago Shelter Last Month?

Yes, but you wouldn’t know it if we relied solely on the agency paid to protect thousands of unaccompanied immigrant children in Illinois.

As Months Pass in Chicago Shelters, Immigrant Children Contemplate Escape, Even Suicide

Internal documents reveal despair and tedium in one of the nation’s largest shelter networks for unaccompanied minors.

Download Chicago’s Parking Ticket Data Yourself

For the first time, the city’s database, which tracks more than 28 million parking and vehicle compliance tickets, is easily available to the public.

What’s the City of Chicago Doing About Its Problem With Duplicate Sticker Tickets?

Seven weeks after the city pledged to address the issue, drivers are still on the hook — and now Chicago’s ticketing practices are becoming an issue in the mayor’s race.

Informes revelan supervisión “laxa,” actividad sexual en centros de acogida de niños inmigrantes en Chicago

Documentos recientemente obtenidos aportan detalles sobre incidentes preocupantes, incluyendo a menores teniendo relaciones sexuales en una sala de televisión y la huida de dos niñas durante una excursión a un museo.

We’re Writing About Problems at the Immigrant Shelters Housing Children and Teens — in English and Español

“Lax” supervision at Heartland shelters contributed to runaways, sexual activity and alleged inappropriate relationships.

Records Reveal “Lax” Supervision, Sexual Activity at Chicago-Area Shelters Housing Immigrant Children

Newly obtained documents provide details on troubling incidents, including children having sex in a TV room and two girls running away on a museum field trip.

“Ocultos a Plena Vista”: Cientos de Migrantes Menores son Albergados en una Red Opaca de Refugios en Illinois

Documentos y entrevistas revelan acusaciones de abusos, amenazas y relaciones inapropiadas.

“Hidden in Plain Sight”: Hundreds of Immigrant Children and Teens Housed in Opaque Network of Chicago-Area Shelters

Documents and interviews reveal allegations of abuse, threats and inappropriate relationships.

Chicago Hiked the Cost of Vehicle City Sticker Violations to Boost Revenue. But It’s Driven More Low-Income, Black Motorists Into Debt.

Now, a former official regrets the move and wants the city to revisit it. Some policies, she said, are “terrible.”

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