Melissa Sanchez is a reporter at ProPublica. She joined ProPublica in 2017 and is focused on immigrants and low-wage workers. Her work here examining Chicago’s punitive ticketing and debt collection system helped prompt major reforms, including changes to state law and an end to driver’s license suspensions over ticket debt. She previously worked for The Chicago Reporter, Catalyst Chicago, el Nuevo Herald in Miami and the Yakima (Wash.) Herald-Republic, and has received numerous local and national awards for her reporting. She lives in a 1926 brick bungalow on Chicago’s Northwest Side with her husband, their two young children and two cats. She speaks Spanish.
A Half-Million Chicago Drivers Have Unpaid Sticker Tickets, but Only 11,400 Applied for the City’s Relief Program
Advocates for ticket reform say they’re disappointed the city didn’t do more to encourage Chicago motorists to sign up for its debt relief program. The city says more reforms are coming.
The measure must still be signed by Gov. J.B. Pritzker, who has been critical of how ticket debt harms Chicago motorists.
How searching court records, data and talking to people can spark an investigation. I hope.
Hundreds of Thousands of Chicago Motorists Could Receive Debt Relief From Vehicle Sticker Tickets as the City Expands Reform
Attention, Chicago motorists: You have until Oct. 31 to buy a city sticker and then qualify for a new debt forgiveness program.
Chicago became the largest U.S. city to enact major reforms to its system of parking fines and fees. City officials say more changes are coming.
Chicago City Council Approves Ticket and Debt Collection Reforms to Help Low-Income and Minority Motorists
The measures, which were prompted by a ProPublica Illinois and WBEZ Chicago investigation, are scheduled to take effect by mid-November.
En una Disputa sobre Tutela, los Hijos de un Padre Hispanohablante se Quedarán con sus Padres de Acogida Eslovacohablantes
El caso es un ejemplo que pone en duda si el Departamento de Servicios para Niños y Familias de Illinois sirve adecuadamente a familias hispanohablantes y cumple con el decreto Burgos de la corte federal.
In a Disputed Custody Case, the Children of a Spanish-Speaking Father Will Remain With Their Slovak-Speaking Foster Parents
The case is one example that questions whether the Illinois Department of Children and Family Services adequately serves Spanish-speaking families and lives up to the Burgos federal court consent decree.
Parents Gave Up Custody of Their Children to Help Them Get Financial Aid. Now, Some Are Abandoning That Idea.
Some families are frustrated about a public backlash, saying what they did was legal. They say the real problem is the cost of higher education.
Lawmakers described the practice as disturbing, disheartening and shocking.
Illinois politicians considered denying admission to students whose families exploited the guardianship law to qualify for aid they wouldn’t otherwise receive, saying it was an “injustice.”
El Departamento de Educación Federal Quiere Frenar la “Trama Fraudulenta de Ayuda Estudiantil” en que Padres Ceden La Custodia a Través de Tutelas Dudosas
Un día después de nuestro reportaje, el inspector general del departamento dice que quiere cerrar los agujeros legales de ayuda financiera.
Padres Ceden La Custodia de Sus Hijos para Conseguir Becas Universitarias Basadas en Necesidad Económica
Primero, los padres transfieren la tutela de sus hijos adolescentes a un amigo o pariente. Después, el estudiante declara independencia financiera para calificar para ayudas monetarias y becas.
U.S. Department of Education Wants to Stop “Student Aid Fraud Scheme” Where Parents Give Up Custody Through Dubious Guardianships
One day after our reporting, the department’s inspector general said it wants to close financial aid loopholes.
First, parents turn over guardianship of their teenagers to a friend or relative. Then the student declares financial independence to qualify for tuition aid and scholarships.
She’s Risked Arrest by Driving With a Suspended License for Seven Years. This Week She Got Some Big News.
Some 55,000 Illinoisans could regain their driver’s licenses very soon.
Chicago Mayor Proposes Reforms That Would Make Life Easier for Thousands of Black and Low-Income Drivers
After more than a year of reporting from ProPublica Illinois and WBEZ, Mayor Lori Lightfoot announced ticketing changes and said she would support legislation to change state law — beginning to make good on a campaign promise.
Legisladores de Illinois Exigen que Funcionarios de Protección Infantil Mejoren Servicios para Familias Hispanohablantes
Oficiales estatales dicen ahora que quieren contratar más empleados bilingües y reclutar más familias de acogida hispanohablantes.
State officials now say they want to increase bilingual hiring and the recruitment of Spanish-speaking foster families.
Inmigrantes Menores Enviados a Albergues de Chicago Están Traumatizados y Enfermos, a veces con Varicela o Tuberculosis
Cientos de menores están siendo detenidos en albergues operados por Heartland Human Care Services, en donde dicen haber hecho cambios a raíz de las acusaciones por negligencia y maltrato a niños.