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Senior Fellows Reporting on Border Issues and Immigration

Senior Fellow Michael Blanding is an award-winning magazine writer who covers politics, social issues, and travel. Blanding examined challenges faced by immigrant women in speaking out about sexual abuse in the workplace for Boston Magazine.  His investigative journalism and travel reporting have taken him around the world.

Senior Fellow Karen Coates spent months in the U.S.-Mexico border region reporting through an International Women’s Media Foundation fellowship. In addition to filing stories about the region, she reported on the change for journalists maneuvering government clampdowns on border crossings and increasing seizures of electronic devices such as smartphones, which often contain highly confidential information.

Senior Fellow Phillip Martin is an award-winning investigative reporter for WGBH Boston Public Radio. Martin’s 2014 “Underground Trade” series, an eight-part investigative series on human trafficking, was undertaken while he was a Ford Foundation Fellow with the International Center for Journalists and in collaboration with the Schuster Institute.

Senior Fellow Erin Siegal McIntyre has focused on investigating and reporting on immigration issues since 2012, when she was honored by the Open Society Foundation with a 2012-2013 Soros Justice Fellowship to report on deportation of undocumented immigrants in the United States. She is the author of the award-winning book "Finding Fernanda," (Beacon Press, May 8, 2012; Cathexis Press, November 1, 2011), which she examines fraudulent, criminal, and corrupt practices in international adoption between Guatemala and the United States. 

Senior Fellow Seth Freed Wessler has been a staff reporter for Colorlines and a researcher for Race Forward, where he led a groundbreaking investigation revealing how thousands of U.S. citizen children were forced into foster care after their parents were deported by federal immigration authorities. His work on immigration enforcement, the safety net, and federal prisons has spurred legislative reforms, inspired advocacy campaigns, and led to shifts in federal and state policy.

Senior Fellow Hella Winston  is a sociologist, investigative journalist, and author who has investigated corruption at the intersection of the criminal justice system and the strictly Orthodox Jewish communities of New York and New Jersey. She has written extensively on the subject of wrongful convictions, focusing specifically on prosecutorial misconduct.

Border Issues and Immigration

Death & Danger at the U.S.-Mexico Border


Slate - Days of Deportation"Days of Deportation,” Seth Freed Wessler, Slate, June 15, 2017. Wessler collaborates with Slate and journalism students at Columbia University to put faces and stories to the 60 deportations since the inauguration of President Trump.

New Bedford Fishery"New Bedford Fishery Workers Spooked By Rumors of Impending Immigration Raid,” Phillip Martin, WGBH News, May 30, 2017. Martin reported from the port city of New Bedford, where people working in the fishing industry and with immigrant populations have grown nervous. “(F)ish processing relies heavily on undocumented immigrants,” Helena DaSilva Hughes, who heads New Bedford’s Immigrants’ Assistance Center, told Martin. Photo: Phillip Martin/WGBH

Why 80 asylum-seekers are marching to the U.S. southern border, even though they'll probably be turned away.

"Why 80 asylum-seekers are marching to the U.S. southern border, even though they'll probably be turned away," Erin Siegal McIntyre, PRI, May 8, 2017.

Central American migrants seeking asylum turned themselves into US border control. Siegel McIntyre reviews the US’s high denial rate of asylum seekers, especially from the Central Americas. Photo: Erin Siegal McIntyre/PRI

  • Pacific Standard"Crossing the Border as an Unaccompanied Child,” Karen Coates, Pacific Standard, May 24, 2017. "Every day, dozens, even hundreds, of children" cross the U.S. border "without a parent or guardian beside them." These "unaccompanied children," many of whom have made long and dangerous journeys by foot, are often returned to Mexico within 48 hours. If the children are from non-contiguous countries, they could be placed in a shelter for months or even years before being told if they're allowed to stay. Is the journey worth it for a migrant child?
  • UN Dispatch"The U.S. Border Has Suddenly Become More Hostile for Journalists Like Me,” Karen Coates, UN Dispatch, April 26, 2017.

Columbia Journalism ReviewAttacks on the Press "Reporting Near the Border? The ACLU Has Some Advice for You,” Karen Coates, Columbia Journalism Review, April 7, 2017.

• "Eluding the Censors,” Karen Coates, Committee to Protect Journalists, April 25, 2017. Coates writes about how Facebook and social media are changing journalism for a Laotian village that "had virtually no connection to the outside world."

A 'Blessed' Sabbath for Iraqi Translator• "A ‘Blessed’ Sabbath For Iraqi Translator,” Hella Winston, The New York Jewish Week, Feb. 8, 2017. Park Slope's Congregation Beth Elohim gave Munther Alaskry a warm welcome. Alaskry, an "engineer by training who worked as an interpreter and bomb clearer for the U.S. military in Iraq," arrived at John F. Kennedy International Airport Feb. 3 "with his wife and two children, after spending a week in terrifying limbo, first at the airport in Istanbul and then in his home country of Iraq" following President Trump's executive order suspending immigration from seven Muslim-majority countries. Photo: Hella Winston/JW

My Father Was a Refugee

 

Senior Fellow Erin Siegal McIntyre has focused on investigating and reporting on immigration issues since 2012, when she was honored by the Open Society Foundation with a 2012-2013 Soros Justice Fellowship to report on deportation of undocumented immigrants in the United States.

She is the author of the award-winning book "Finding Fernanda," (Beacon Press, May 8, 2012; Cathexis Press, November 1, 2011), which she examines fraudulent, criminal, and corrupt practices in international adoption between Guatemala and the United States.

Is rape the price migrant women must pay for chasing the American Dream?

Is rape the price migrant women must pay for the American Dream? Before they can reach the American Dream, many migrant women have to survive a Mexican nightmare. A staggering 80 percent of Central American girls and women crossing Mexico en route to the United States are raped along the way, according to directors of migrant shelters interviewed by Schuster Institute Senior Fellow and Fusion Reporter Erin Siegal McIntyre and Mexico Reporter Deborah Bonello in this video report for Fusion (9/10/2014).

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Children Report High-Level Abuse at American Detention Centers

Immigrant boy photo by Sara May

This 12-year-old boy was recently caught trying to cross the border from Mexico to the U.S. with his father. They planned to try again in a couple of days. Photo | Sara May.

Read These Kids' Horrifying Tales of Abuse in U.S. Detention Facilities, Erin Siegal McIntyre, July 9, 2014, Take Part.


US Policy Allows Mexican Youth Trying to Cross the Mexico-US Border to be Returned Within 48 Hours

Mexican child immigrant photo Erin Siegal McIntyre

Not All Kids Are Equal: Central American Kids Get Court Dates, Mexicans Get the Boot, Erin Siegal McIntyre, July 10, 2014, Fusion.

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Migrants Attempting Entry to the U.S. through Arizona Face Likelihood of a Slow, Painful Death

A discarded shoe lies along the porous U.S.-Mexico border fence which stretches through the Sonoran Desert. 2011 Getty Images

STRICTER ENFORCEMENT and more agents along the southern U.S. border mean determined migrants may choose to attempt entry through terrain that leads many to their deaths, says Schuster Institute Senior Fellow Erin Siegal McIntyre.

"Death in the desert: The dangerous trek between Mexico and Arizona," Al Jazeera America, Erin Siegal McIntyre, March 11, 2014.

How and why teenagers are smuggling hard drugs across the U.S.-Mexico border

People crossing from Mexico to the United States at the San Ysidro port of entry in San Diego, November 2013. Photo John Moore / Getty Images

DRUG CARTELS are increasingly recruiting teenagers to smuggle drugs across the border. McIntyre explores the reasons why, and what’s being done to discourage the upward trend.

Teenage drug mules: Cartels are tapping minors to smuggle meth, coke

Erin Siegal McIntyre, Feb. 19, 2014, Al Jazeera America

Family ties push unauthorized migrants to make the dangerous, sometimes deadly, journey to the U.S.

“Tiger” Martinez with his daughter, KiaraCourtesy Betty Alvarez

WHILE ILLEGAL BORDER CROSSINGS have dropped dramatically, border deaths have risen reports Schuster Institute Senior Fellow Erin Siegal McIntyre. McIntyre’s article recounts several journeys of "Tiger" Martinez back and forth between Honduras and New York City to visit family. Reports show he was deported four times. He attempted his last journey through the Sonoran Desert. His body was found and identified in Cochise County.

The Pima County Medical Examiner's Office has recorded 2,100 deaths along the Arizona-Mexico border since 2001, says McIntyre. The article includes two maps that show points along the border at which bodies have been found.

Border Deaths: The Last Crossing of Tiger Martinez

Erin Siegal McIntyre and Seth Freed Wessler, Feb.25, 2014, Al Jazeera America