Melissa Sanchez
Melissa Sanchez
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Inside the Lives of Immigrant Teens Working Dangerous Night Shifts in Suburban Factories

Inside the Lives of Immigrant Teens Working Dangerous Night Shifts in Suburban Factories

.ProPublica Illinois is a nonprofit newsroom that investigates abuses of power. Sign up to get about our work.This story was co-published with Mother Jones and El País.It’s a little before 6 a.m. and still dark when Garcia gets home from work this October morning. The apartment where he lives with his aunt and uncle is silent. They’ve already left for their own jobs.After nine hours hosing down machinery at a food processing plant, Garcia is tired and hungry. But he has less than an hour to get ready for high school, where he is a junior. He quickly showers, gets dressed and reheats some...

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Melissa Sanchez
Nov 20
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Parents Gave Up Custody of Their Children to Help Them Get Financial Aid. Now, Some Are Abandoning That Idea.

Parents Gave Up Custody of Their Children to Help Them Get Financial Aid. Now, Some Are Abandoning That Idea.

Amid state and federal scrutiny as well as a public backlash, more than a half-dozen suburban Chicago families who had recently gone to court to give up guardianship of their college-bound teens to qualify for financial aid they wouldn’t otherwise receive are now quietly letting their cases lapse.Though some families remain unapologetic about their use of a practice that had gone largely unnoticed until three weeks ago, they say the real issue is not that they tried to take advantage of a legal loophole but the exorbitant cost of higher education.“A lot of families are afraid to say what...

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Melissa Sanchez
Aug 27
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After Controversy, Heartland to Close Four Illinois Shelters for Immigrant Youth

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

Eight months after its shelters for immigrant children came under public scrutiny over allegations of abuse and lax supervision, Heartland Human Care Services says it will close four shelters in suburban Chicago and add staff, training and other resources at its remaining five facilities. The decision, announced to employees in a memo Friday, comes as another agency, Maryville Academy, plans to open two additional shelters, including one as early as next month. Heartland officials told ProPublica Illinois they plan to move children out of its four shelters in Des Plaines between now and...

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Melissa Sanchez
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Jul 27
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