Her first story, “Trust and Consequences,” revealed how the U.S. government during the Trump administration was requiring immigrants who were minors to attend mental-health therapy sessions -- and then, without telling them, sharing their confidential disclosures with ICE to be used against them in court. Based on more than a thousand pages of documents and 14 months of source-building, the story documented how Euceda, who was 17 when he crossed into the United States seeking protection from a lifetime of gang violence, was coaxed into sharing his deepest traumas with a therapist only to have ICE then use his exact words in court to keep him detained for three years. The story had immediate impact: migrant shelters nationwide enacted policies cutting off ICE’s access to therapy notes, Congress introduced legislation to ban such information sharing, and Health and Human Services announced it was ending the practice.
“To Stay or To Go” picked up Euceda’s story several months later, when the facility he was being detained in became overrun with the coronavirus. This time, Hannah’s reporting penetrated a facility closed to public scrutiny to reveal what happened during the outbreak and how detainees were faced with the cruelest of decisions: stay in detention and risk infection, or give up and return home to the dangers they fled. Among those making the choice was Euceda, whose decision resulted in his death. He was 20 years old.
“Hannah Dreier’s series does what the best reporting can do,” Matt Murray, editor-in-chief of the Wall Street Journal and a Livingston judge, said of Hannah’s work. “It leaves an indelible impression by making abstract policy and institutional decisions, human and concrete, and shows the effect they can have on real lives. Whatever one's views on immigration, no one who reads these stories can fail to be moved outraged and informed by them.”
The Livingston Awards recognize the work of journalists under the age of 35 in three categories -- national, local, and international reporting. This year’s contest attracted more than 500 entries. Hannah now joins a distinguished list of reporters who won the award while working for The Post: Blaine Harden, Benjamin Weiser, Michele Norris, David Remnick, Steve Coll and Philip Pan.
Phil’s win was in 2003, and we’re grateful that Hannah has put an end to a lengthy drought.