The Michael Kelly Award

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Hannah Dreier


It’s the way the system is supposed to work—or at least that’s how the story begins. Henry is a high school student on Long Island, an asylum-seeker born in El Salvador but inexorably drawn into gangland life. He has had enough and courageously reveals what he knows to local and federal authorities. They promise protection. But the promises mean nothing in the face of President Trump’s crackdown on gangs. Henry is rounded up, detained with gang members, and marked for deportation. Hannah Dreier’s investigation of Henry is one in a series of articles on gangs and immigration sponsored by ProPublica—by turns haunting and chilling, and the epitome of superb reporting and writing.


Hannah Dreier is an investigative reporter covering immigration for ProPublica. In 2018, she wrote about how U.S. law enforcement officials failed to protects immigrant victims of the gang MS-13. Previously, she served as the Associated Press’ Venezuela correspondent for three years. She reported on the country’s unraveling by embedding in hospitals, factories, and food lines. She also covered California politics and the business of gambling for the Associated Press. Her reporting has led to the passage of new laws and the implementation of international sanctions. She is 32 and lives in Brooklyn.

Trapped In Gangland

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