Melissa Sanchez

Reporter

Photo of Melissa Sanchez

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.

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.”

How ProPublica Illinois and WBEZ Worked Together to Find Thousands of Duplicate Tickets in Chicago

We heard from you about how ticket debt, especially from $200 city sticker citations, has affected you. And we would like your help as we continue our reporting.

Three City Sticker Tickets on the Same Car in 90 Minutes?

Chicago has issued 20,000 duplicate city sticker tickets since 2007. City officials are now looking at whether this violates a city ordinance and say motorists might be in for a refund.

Chicago Begins To Rethink How Bankruptcy Lawyers Get Paid

Judges are demanding that lawyers tell their clients that their other debts might not get paid, but their lawyers will.

Some States No Longer Suspend Driver’s Licenses for Unpaid Fines. Will Illinois Join Them?

Our analysis shows suspensions tied to ticket debt disproportionately affect motorists in largely black sections of Chicago and its suburbs.

Follow ProPublica

More from ProPublica