Melissa Sanchez

Reporter

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Melissa Sanchez is a reporter at ProPublica Illinois who is focused on immigrants and low-wage workers. Her work here examining Chicago’s punitive ticketing and debt collection system helped prompt major city reforms, including the end of driver’s license suspensions for unpaid parking tickets and debt relief.

She previously reported on topics ranging from education to absentee ballot fraud for The Chicago Reporter, Catalyst Chicago, el Nuevo Herald in Miami and the Yakima (Washington) Herald-Republic. She lives in a 1926 brick bungalow on Chicago’s Northwest Side with her husband, their toddler son, and two cats. Habla español.

Chicago Can’t Hold Impounded Vehicles After Drivers File for Bankruptcy, Court Says

A federal appeals court said the city’s aggressive legal strategy, aimed at discouraging motorists with unpaid ticket debt from filing under Chapter 13, violated the basic protections of bankruptcy, and the city was doing so mostly to generate revenue.

Su padre habla español. Los padres de crianza temporal los criaron hablando eslovaco.

Por generaciones, la agencia de Illinois para el bienestar infantil ha fracasado a la hora de atender adecuadamente a las familias de habla hispana cuyos niños tiene bajo su cuidado.

Their Father Speaks Spanish. Their Foster Parents Raised Them to Speak Slovak.

For generations, Illinois’ child welfare agency has failed to adequately serve Spanish-speaking families with children in its care.

Task Force on Tickets and Debt Suggests Reforms but Needs Chicago’s Mayor and City Council to Finish the Work

A report from the Chicago Fines, Fees & Access Collaborative responded to many of the problems ProPublica Illinois and WBEZ Chicago revealed.

Después de la controversia, Heartland va a cerrar cuatro albergues para jóvenes inmigrantes en Illinois

Al mismo tiempo, otro operador de albergues está intentando expandir su presencia en Chicago.

After Controversy, Heartland to Close Four Illinois Shelters for Immigrant Youth

At the same time, another shelter operator is trying to expand its footprint in Chicago.

Everybody in Chicago’s Mayor’s Race Says They Want Ticket Reform

Proposals from the 14 candidates range from studying ticketing enforcement disparities to overhauling payment plans.

The Ticket Trap

We’ve collected data on 54 million tickets issued over the past two decades in the city. Search for your address and compare your ward with others, and see how Chicago’s reliance on ticketing affects motorists across the city.

Chicago Task Force Will Take on Ticket and Debt Collection Reform

The group is part of an effort to make vehicle ticketing less unfair.

Chicago Throws Out 23,000 Duplicate Tickets Issued Since 1992 to Motorists Who Didn’t Have Vehicle Stickers

The move is the city’s latest effort to reform its troubled ticketing and debt collection practices.

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.

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