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 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.

Senate Says Happy Memorial Day by Taking a Vacation without Extending Unemployment Benefits

by Seth Freed Wessler on May 28 2010, 9:30AM

As many as 200,000 people may lose their unemployment insurance benefits in early June, because the Senate has once again failed to extend the program. Senate Democrats announced on Thursday that they were once again unable to pass an extension…

Topics: Economy, Race and Recession

Obama Rushes to the Right on Immigration

by Seth Freed Wessler on May 27 2010, 9:00AM

When President Obama announced his plan on Monday to send 1,200 National Guard troops to “secure” the U.S.-Mexico border, he no doubt thought he was putting money down on immigration reform. The problem is that thus far in our sordid…

Topics: Immigration

Long-term Unemployment on the Rise, Overall Unemployment Rates Steady, Blacks and Latinos Still Hit Hardest

by Seth Freed Wessler on May 26 2010, 9:30AM

Visual design: Hatty Lee The House is expected to vote today on a measure to extend jobless benefits through the end of the year. If the extension passes, 5 million people who would otherwise be left without support in this…


Will Congress Get it Together and Pass an Unemployment Insurance Extension?

by Seth Freed Wessler on May 25 2010, 10:16AM

The House was expected to vote today to extend unemployment benefits until the end of the year. But according the the Ways and Means Committee press office this morning, the spending measure will not make it to the floor until…

Topics: Economy

Child Care Cuts Expose Longstanding Failure in Welfare Reform

by Seth Freed Wessler on May 24 2010, 10:09AM

States across the country are slashing already beleaguered subsidized child care programs and leaving parents without recourse, unable to find a job and too poor to pay for child care without one. The New York Times printed a front page…

Topics: Economy, Race and Recession

AZ Sen. Russell Pearce Smells Blood: Intends to Prey on US Citizen Children of Immigrants

by Seth Freed Wessler on May 21 2010, 9:30AM

Russell Pearce, the Arizona state Senator who spearheaded SB 1070, the harshest anti-immigrant law in the country, is not stopping there. His next assault may be on the 14th Amendment and the citizenship rights of US citizen children of immigrants….

Topics: Immigration

Rhode Island Introduces SB 1070 Copycat Legislation

by Seth Freed Wessler on May 19 2010, 3:29PM

A Rhode Island state lawmaker introduced legislation yesterday that closely resembles Arizona’s SB 1070, the law that criminalizes the presence of undocumented immigrants and essentially requires racial profiling. The Rhode Island bill, H 8142, was introduced by Rep. Peter Palumbo,…

Topics: Immigration

UPDATE: Undocumented Dream Act Students Handed Over to ICE

by Seth Freed Wessler on May 19 2010, 1:45PM

UPDATE 1:35PM ET: After their arrest and subsequent apprehension by Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) yesterday, the three undocumented students who staged a sit-in in Sen. John McCain’s office on Monday were released from custody. The students will still face…

Topics: Immigration

Shahzad Appears in Court after 2 Weeks, Becomes Canvas for Due Process Debate

by Seth Freed Wessler on May 19 2010, 9:57AM

Pakistani-born US citizen Faisal Shahzad, 30, (R) is pictured in a courtroom sketch during a brief federal court appearance May 18, 2010 in New York City. (Courtroom sketch by Christine Cornell/Getty Images) Faisal Shahzad, the man who allegedly attempted…

Topics: National Security

Courage! Undocumented Students Arrested After McCain Sit-in [VIDEO]

by Seth Freed Wessler on May 18 2010, 10:50AM

Most people have never done anything so courageous. Of course, most people’s lives don’t depend on it.

Topics: DREAM Act, Immigration

The Arizona Legal Battle is On

The Arizona Legal Battle is On

by Seth Freed Wessler on May 17 2010, 8:50PM

The battle over Arizona’s SB 1070 ratcheted up today when a coalition of legal advocates filed a class action suit against the state.

Topics: Arizona's SB 1070, Immigration

Schwarzenegger’s Budget: Let Them Eat Cake

by Seth Freed Wessler on May 17 2010, 9:55AM

Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger on Friday outlined his 2011 budget, offering no less than the promise of total desperation for low income families. The budget eliminates the state’s welfare-to-work program and cuts subsidized child care beyond preschool. Eliminating CalWorks, the…


With Miranda, Obama Moves Dangerously to the Right

by Seth Freed Wessler on May 11 2010, 11:59AM

A day after Attorney General Eric Holder said he’s working to amend the Miranda law for terrorism suspects, Obama’s chief political adviser, David Axelrod, told CNN that the president is “open to looking at” a change to the rule. The…

Topics: National Security

Holder’s Slippery Slope: Denying Miranda Rights on the Way to Torture

by Seth Freed Wessler on May 10 2010, 11:59AM

Attorney General Eric Holder announced yesterday that the Obama administration will move to make the Miranda law more flexible for people facing accusations of terror. The debate over whether or not to Mirandize terrorism suspects has been renewed by the…

Topics: National Security

Does Obama Administration Support Expatriation and Assassination of US Citizens?

by Seth Freed Wessler on May 7 2010, 10:43AM

UPDATE @ 12:00 ET White House Press Secretary Robert Gibbs said yesterday that nobody in the White House supports the recently proposed legislation that would strip the citizenship of US citizens connected to International terrorist groups. The statements however, contradict…

Topics: National Security

Will South Carolina Follow Arizona’s Lead?

by Seth Freed Wessler on May 5 2010, 4:29PM

South Carolina is the first and only state to have introduced a SB 1070 copycat bill since Arizona passed the law. There are 10 additional states where lawmakers have said they’d do the same. While many of those states are…

Topics: Immigration

Lieberman Will Introduce Bill to Take Away Citizen’s Citizenship

by Seth Freed Wessler on May 5 2010, 10:30AM

Following the arrest of Faisal Shahzad, a Pakistani-born, US citizen who is said to have admitted to involvement in Sunday’s failed Time Square bombing, the airways and Congressional wings were buzzing with talk of how to strip the citizenship rights…

Topics: National Security

Paterson Tries to Make New York the Anti-Arizona State

by Seth Freed Wessler on May 4 2010, 4:25PM

New York Governor David Paterson moved yesterday to affirm New York as the country’s anti-Arizona state. The New York Times reports today: Gov. David A. Paterson announced on Monday that the state would accelerate consideration and granting of pardons to…

Topics: Immigration

The Far-Right Movement Behind Arizona Copycat Bills Infographic

The Far-Right Movement Behind Arizona Copycat Bills

by Seth Freed Wessler on May 4 2010, 12:00PM

State lawmakers pushing a new crop of immigration-enforcement bills are overwhelmingly affiliated with a network tied to eugenics and anti-Latino fear-mongering. 

Topics: Immigration

The Rightward Drift of Immigration Reform

by Seth Freed Wessler on April 30 2010, 12:00PM

Harry Reid’s bill makes a bad framework worse. And it still won’t move.