Colorlines

Seth Freed Wessler

Seth Freed Wessler
Seth Freed Wessler Investigative Reporter
New York, NY

Seth Freed Wessler is a reporter in New York who currently writes for Colorlines.com. Seth has reported from across the United States, Mexico and the Caribbean on immigration, the safety net, criminal justice, national security and the human fallout of the financial collapse. Seth led a groundbreaking investigation that revealed the thousands of U.S. citizen children stuck in foster care whose parents have been detained or deported by federal immigration authorities. The investigation, for which Seth won a Hillman Prize and other honors, Along with Seth's series of follow-up stories, led to a direct response from the federal government, as well as the passage of state-level legislation. Seth worked until 2012 as a researcher for the Applied Research Center, where he authored research reports on racial inequality and the financial collapse, segregation in the restaurant industry and the corrosive effects of immigration policies on child welfare systems. Seth often discusses his reporting in national broadcast, and his stories and investigations for Colorlines have been cited by outlets including the Associated Press, the New York Times, The Los Angeles Times and NPR. He has produced stories for GOOD Magazine, the Texas Observer, NPR’s LatinoUSA, The Huffington Post, The Root and other outlets. In addition to the Hillman Prize, Seth was a finalist for a Casey Medal and has won several Ippies Awards. He was the recipient of a reporting fellowship from USC Annenberg's Institute for Justice and Journalism. Check out Seth's media appearances here.

Seth tweets at @sethfw.

Bloomberg Basically Admits NYPD Spied on Muslims For No Reason Other Than Religion

by Seth Freed Wessler on March 9 2012, 1:05PM

The New York Police Department has spied on Muslim New Yorkers for no other reason than that they are Muslim. Yesterday, after months of near silence from federal officials, Attorney General Eric Holder called the program “disturbing”.

Topics: Criminal Justice, /NOW, Spying

A Closer Look at Ray Kelly's Multi-Billion Dollar Army of Spies

A Closer Look at Ray Kelly’s Multi-Billion Dollar Army of Spies

by Seth Freed Wessler on March 1 2012, 10:33AM

New York Police Department has argued that it’s spending billions to spy on Muslim Americans in order to foil terror plots. That assertion simply doesn’t hold up against the few facts they’ve been willing to share.

Topics: National Security, Spying

Muslim Students Reeling From Shocking News of NYPD's Spying

Muslim Students Reeling From Shocking News of NYPD’s Spying

by Seth Freed Wessler on February 24 2012, 9:01AM

On campuses all over the Northeast, horrified students are discovering they were targets of surveillance, simply because they joined a Muslim student group. But domestic religious profiling is now routine for both NPYD and the FBI.

Topics: Criminal Justice, National Security, Spying

Deal Reached to Allow Drug Testing for Jobless Benefits

Deal Reached to Allow Drug Testing for Jobless Benefits

by Seth Freed Wessler on February 16 2012, 5:33PM

There goes your social safety net.

Topics: /NOW

Deported Dad Begs North Carolina To Give Him Back His Children

Deported Dad Begs North Carolina To Give Him Back His Children

by Seth Freed Wessler on February 14 2012, 10:38AM

Nobody argues whether Felipe Montes is a great dad. But the state doesn’t want to send his U.S. citizen kids to Mexico, so he may lose them forever. The Montes are among a growing number of families facing similar crises.

Topics: Immigration, Felipe Montes

House GOP's Jobless Image: Drugged Out, Lazy and in Need of a GED

House GOP’s Jobless Image: Drugged Out, Lazy and in Need of a GED

by Seth Freed Wessler on February 14 2012, 9:07AM

That’s the picture Republicans want in voters’ minds, too, as Congress prepares for yet another brutal round of jousting over unemployment benefits.

Topics: Economy, Jobs Crisis

How East Haven, Conn., Became Synonymous With Racial Profiling

How East Haven, Conn., Became Synonymous With Racial Profiling

by Seth Freed Wessler on February 2 2012, 10:22AM

Even if the town cops’ lawlessness is fixed, questions remain that go far beyond East Haven’s city limits. The issue was not just that racist local cops wanted to deport immigrants; it’s that federal immigration authorities obliged them.

Topics: Criminal Justice, Dispatches, Immigration

Muslim Americans to NYPD: Enough Already, the Commish Must Go

Muslim Americans to NYPD: Enough Already, the Commish Must Go

by Seth Freed Wessler on January 27 2012, 9:48AM

This week’s revelation that NYPD leaders lied about their participation in an anti-Muslim film that was then shown to 1,500 trainees was just the latest in a growing string of evidence that the department is systematically profiling the city’s Muslim residents.

Topics: Criminal Justice, National Security, Spying

Gingrich Surges With Old, Familiar Ploy: Racist Attacks on Poor People

Gingrich Surges With Old, Familiar Ploy: Racist Attacks on Poor People

by Seth Freed Wessler on January 19 2012, 9:57AM

Newt Gingrich has for decades been the GOP standard bearer in using racial caricatures to demonize poor people. Food stamps were spared for a time, leaving them the last functioning part of the economic safety net. No longer.

Topics: GOP Primary, Newt Gingrich, Politics

The Israel Lobby Finds a New Face: Black College Students

The Israel Lobby Finds a New Face: Black College Students

by Seth Freed Wessler on January 18 2012, 9:01AM

Supporters of Palestinian rights have charged that Israel is an apartheid state. In response, the country’s staunchest U.S. lobby group is recruiting black college students to say there’s no way Israel can be racist.

Topics: Global Affairs

Dispatch From Detention: A Rare Look Inside Our 'Humane' Immigration Jails

Dispatch From Detention: A Rare Look Inside Our ‘Humane’ Immigration Jails

by Seth Freed Wessler on January 4 2012, 9:19AM

Deporting 400,000 people a year means big business for the rural towns and private prison contractors that warehouse many detained immigrants.

Topics: Deportation, Dispatches, Immigration

The White House's Flawed Attempt to Crack Down on Food Stamp 'Fraud'

The White House’s Flawed Attempt to Crack Down on Food Stamp ‘Fraud’

by Seth Freed Wessler on December 8 2011, 9:47AM

As the economic downturn continues, poor families of color are often forced to make tough choices. And it’s because they have little recourse.

Topics: Economy

Report: Half of Nation's Undocumented Adults Have Kids

Report: Half of Nation’s Undocumented Adults Have Kids

by Seth Freed Wessler on December 7 2011, 10:00AM

And the federal government’s deportation program is ripping families apart.

Topics: Deportation

Georgia Immigrant Couple Fights to Regain Custody of Kids

Georgia Immigrant Couple Fights to Regain Custody of Kids

by Seth Freed Wessler on November 30 2011, 10:00AM

Why? Because they are undocumented immigrants who speak Spanish, according to advocates.

Topics: Deportation, Immigration

Obama: Kids Stuck in Foster Care Due to Deportation a 'Real Problem'

Obama: Kids Stuck in Foster Care Due to Deportation a ‘Real Problem’

by Seth Freed Wessler on November 14 2011, 2:53PM

President Obama says his administration must “make sure that children aren’t torn from their parents without due process.” A Colorlines.com investigation concluded at least 5,100 kids are stuck in foster care because their parents are detained or deported.

Topics: Deportation, Immigration, Felipe Montes

U.S. Deports 46K Parents With Citizen Kids in Just Six Months

U.S. Deports 46K Parents With Citizen Kids in Just Six Months

by Seth Freed Wessler on November 3 2011, 9:30AM

Data obtained through a Freedom of Information Act request reveals nearly a quarter of people deported in first half of 2011 were parents with U.S. citizen children. That’s a dramatic increase from the 10-year period before the Obama administration.

Topics: Deportation, Immigration, Felipe Montes

Thousands of Kids Lost From Parents In U.S. Deportation System

Thousands of Kids Lost From Parents In U.S. Deportation System

by Seth Freed Wessler on November 2 2011, 8:00AM

A yearlong investigation by Colorlines.com’s publisher, the Applied Research Center, found more than 5,000 children stuck in foster care because their parents were detained by ICE. One in four deportees have U.S.-born kids and face total loss of parental rights.

Topics: Deportation, Immigration, Felipe Montes

Documentary Pries Open the Door to Immigrant Detention Centers

Documentary Pries Open the Door to Immigrant Detention Centers

by Seth Freed Wessler on October 18 2011, 10:03AM

Latina journalist Maria Hinojosa’s “Lost in Detention” airs tonight on PBS’ Frontline. Colorlines.com spoke with Hinojosa about reporting the film, and the up-close reality of warehousing immigrants awaiting deportation.

Topics: Immigration, Media

ICE Vows More 'Discretion' in Deportations. Don't Hold Your Breath

ICE Vows More ‘Discretion’ in Deportations. Don’t Hold Your Breath

by Seth Freed Wessler on June 24 2011, 10:50AM

ICE staff have long held broad discretion in immigration cases, yet they have regularly failed to use it, instead ramming through a record number of deportations under Obama.

Topics: Immigration

How X-Men Ignored History and Misread Its Viewers

How X-Men Ignored History and Misread Its Viewers

by Seth Freed Wessler on June 10 2011, 2:59PM

It’s a testament to the colorblind myth that a film about social exclusion set squarely in the era of the American civil rights movement did not include a single developed character of color.

Topics: Arts & Culture