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.

US and Israel: On the Rocks or Just Rhetoric?

by Seth Freed Wessler on March 24 2010, 11:02AM

Israel’s declaration that it will continue to build 1600 new homes for Jews in East Jerusalem despite U.S. dissent threatens to derail any peace process and “exposes the light between Israel and the United State,” Secretary of State Hillary Clinton…


The Morning Browse: Health Care Passes; Immigration March; Military Prisons

by Seth Freed Wessler on March 22 2010, 10:15AM

The House passed an historic health care reform bill and sent it to President Obama last night. The bill comes after months of protracted partisan struggle and passed only after Obama promised an executive order firming up restrictions on the…


Immigration Bill Arrives, Here’s What We Know Right Now

by Seth Freed Wessler on March 19 2010, 3:30PM

This morning, Senators Schumer and Graham outlined their immigration proposal in a Washington Post op-ed titled “The Right Way to Mend Immigration”. It’s the plan Obama said “should be the basis for moving forward.” So what’s in this proposal?…


The Morning Browse: Immigration Reform Rollout; ‘Zero-Tolerance’ Racism; Cutting Kids off Health Insurance

by Seth Freed Wessler on March 19 2010, 10:29AM

A North Carolina lawsuit takes on “zero-tolerance” school discipline policies on the grounds that they deny Black students the right to an education. Nationwide, Black students are suspended at three times the rate of whites, contributing to the “school to…


The Criminal Flaw in Obama’s
Immigration Vision

by Seth Freed Wessler on March 18 2010, 12:00PM

The White House says reform is coming soon. But real change demands Washington think much differently about how and why we’re deporting a record-high number of immigrants.


Women on Cash Assistance Testify on The Hill to Change TANF Policies

by Seth Freed Wessler on February 26 2010, 4:12PM

In D.C. these days, it’s hard for anyone to yell loudly enough to get heard over the buzz of health care reform. But in the shadow of Obama’s healthcare summit yesterday, about a hundred congressional staffers, reporters and advocates piled…

Topics: Economy

Selling Food Stamps for Kids' Shoes

Selling Food Stamps for Kids’ Shoes

by Seth Freed Wessler on February 16 2010, 12:00PM

Unable to find jobs, kicked off welfare, women in Connecticut are forced to sell food assistance to buy basic necessities.

Topics: Economy, Food Stamps

Watch “ColorLines: Race and Economic Recovery,” Only on LinkTV

by Seth Freed Wessler on February 3 2010, 12:57PM

President Obama says the stimulus saved or created 2 million jobs in 2009. But is the recovery really working? The American dream of good jobs and strong communities is still just a dream for too many. The unfair economy…

Topics: Video & Multimedia

Old Criminal Records Are Life Sentences In Job Market

by Seth Freed Wessler on December 2 2009, 8:55PM

This post originally appeared on The Grio. Almost two years ago, Vincent, a slim 46-year-old black man dressed in a plaid shirt, worked as a maintenance technician in Detroit. He had worked for the company for almost three months, but…

Topics: Race and Recession

We Should Be Worried About More Than Stupak

by Seth Freed Wessler on November 30 2009, 5:28PM

Once again, policy makers are dedicating themselves to making laws to mess with the reproductive lives of poor women of color. In the most recent iteration, a little known provision tucked into the congressional health care bill would require mothers…

Topics: Health

Fort Hood Rampage: Don’t Let Tragedy Bring More Tragedy

by Seth Freed Wessler on November 5 2009, 9:02PM

Today 12 people lost their lives when a US army psychologist and two other men opened fire inside the Fort Hood military base in Texas. It is was an horrific act and our hearts and thoughts are with the…

Topics: Media, News Items

Torn Apart, Families Struggle to Stay Together

Torn Apart, Families Struggle to Stay Together

by Seth Freed Wessler on October 22 2009, 9:44AM

This piece was co-authored by Seth Wessler and Julianne Hing. In recent months, the Obama administration has announced plans to expand the 287(g) program despite widespread abuses and racial profiling. It’s also pouring money into “Secure Communities,” a program that…

Topics: Immigration

Double Punishment

Double Punishment

by Seth Freed Wessler on October 20 2009, 12:00PM

Families of color are punished twice by immigration and criminal justice systems that don’t provide equal justice.

Topics: Immigration

Basta Dobbs!: Watch the Video, Sign the Pledge

by Seth Freed Wessler on October 13 2009, 9:27AM

Nobody has done more to spread hate and lies than Lou Dobbs, who spouts his anti-Latino vitriol into American living rooms every night. His words are dangerous. Late last year, the Southern Poverty Law Center reported an increase in…

Topics: Immigration, Media

30% Unemployment, Pre-Recession: Immigrant Communities Need Real Recovery [VIDEO]

by Seth Freed Wessler on August 26 2009, 1:29PM

Crossposted at Huffington Post. Last week, the world’s central bankers got together for a little strategy session in Colorado, and declared that the recovery is on its way. This is the way it works with recessions. They ravage the world,…

Topics: Economy, Immigration, Video & Multimedia

US Immigration Laws Created “Deportee Problem.” Real People Suffer the Stigma

by Seth Freed Wessler on June 17 2009, 9:18AM

The saying is widespread in Jamaica: “just like a deportee.” One might say of a beat up old car, “that thing is a deportee.” Something like a deportee is junk and this applies equally to inanimate objects and to…

Topics: Immigration

Why Deport Formerly Incarcerated Immigrants? Is the System Broken?

by Seth Freed Wessler on June 15 2009, 11:32AM

ColorLines magazine is in Jamaica this week investigating the devastating effect of American deportation policies on families. Check back for more updates soon. Christopher Johnson, 38, was deported from Washington, DC to Jamaica six weeks ago, after he finished…

Topics: Criminal Justice, Immigration

A Timeline of the Subprime Crisis

by Seth Freed Wessler on May 19 2009, 12:00PM

Here’s how decades of institutional racism led us to where are today.


Attacking Families Outside the Box

by Seth Freed Wessler on April 24 2009, 2:46PM

Marriage equality is hot these days. This week the fire—and the brimstone—was in Maine, where the legislative judiciary committee held a hearing on a proposed marriage bill. Thousands of Mainers proudly came out to support the bill, filling the Augusta,…


Act Now! Keep Families in their Homes!

by Seth Freed Wessler on April 17 2009, 10:22AM

The battle to save rent regulation is at a critical moment in New York City. Immigrants are more likely than native-born New Yorkers to live in rent-stabilized housing, and they live in neighborhoods where rents have increased dramatically. Rent…