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Odette Yousef

Odette Yousef


Odette Yousef is a WBEZ reporter covering immigration, race and class. 

Since joining the station in 2010, Odette has covered a range of stories including local and state efforts around immigration policy, DREAMers and the impact of travel bans on Muslim-Americans and refugees. She has also delved into the reality of homelessness in Chicago, with stories about tent cities and the disappearance of affordable housing on the North Side. In 2016, Odette was part of a team at WBEZ to win a National Edward R. Murrow Award for best Continuing Coverage of how local officials in Puerto Rico were sending drug addicts to unlicensed therapy groups in Chicago, with false promises of professional treatment.

Odette’s coverage includes enterprise and data reporting, and she has contributed to NPR’s Morning Edition and All Things Considered, PRI’s The World and WNYC’s The Takeaway. In 2015, she served as president of the Chicago Headline Club, which is the largest chapter of the Society of Professional Journalists.

Prior to joining WBEZ, Odette was a reporter at WABE FM in Atlanta.

Odette received a B.A. in Economics and East Asian Studies from Harvard University.

Recent Stories

WBEZ Updates

Illinois Health Exchange Delivers A Sting

As some Illinois residents scramble to sign up for health insurance under the Affordable Care Act during the final days of open enrollment, they’re getting major sticker shock.

WBEZ Updates

CPD Admits No Basis For Labeling Man A Gang Member

The Chicago Police Department is admitting that it cannot verify that a man it included in its so-called gang database is a gang member.

WBEZ Updates

Durbin Sees DREAM Act Passing Before 2018

Illinois Democratic leaders in Washington are pushing hard to pass legislation to support so-called DREAMers before the end of the year.


Uptown Homeless Shelter Looks Back At Year That Almost Wasn’t

The men’s homeless shelter briefly closed last year, but a last-minute donation kept it open and inspired optimism.

WBEZ Updates

Immigration Advocates React To News That Gutierrez Won't Seek Re-Election

Immigration reform advocates in Chicago say they’ll be losing a lion for their cause when Illinois Congressman Luis Gutierrez steps down at the end of his term.

WBEZ Updates

Woman Files Lawsuit In Church Sanctuary Case

A woman who has taken sanctuary in a West Side church has been told to deport herself back to Mexico by the end of this week.

WBEZ Updates

African-American Workers Coalition Says City Ignores Racist Labor Practices In TIF Areas

A coalition of immigrant and African-American workers on Chicago’s West Side say the city ignores racist labor practices in areas that benefit from TIF funds.

WBEZ Updates

Undocumented Man Suing Chicago Over Falsely Labeling Him As Gang Member May Settle

An undocumented man who’s suing Chicago over its use of the gang database may soon reach a settlement with the city.

WBEZ Updates

Alderman Finds No Problem With Chicago Policy To Toss Homeless Tents

One North Side alderman has no sympathy for homeless people whose tents are confiscated and thrown out by the city.

WBEZ Updates

City Colleges Head Says Illinois Should Copy Star Program

The head of City Colleges of Chicago is floating an idea to make community colleges more accessible statewide.

WBEZ Updates

ICE Solicits Ideas To Expand Detention Capacity In Chicago

Immigrations and Customs Enforcement is looking to drastically expand its detention capacity for undocumented immigrants in the Chicago area.

WBEZ Updates

Deportation Pressures Limit Immigrant Options, Attorneys Say

Immigration attorneys in Chicago say it’s getting harder than ever to help their clients become legal.


Where Can Homeless People Pitch Tents In Chicago?

Chicago’s rules on if homeless people can live in tents — and where — are confusing and inconsistently applied.

WBEZ Updates

Despite Stay, Activists Protest Latest Travel Ban

Muslim activists and their allies are responding to the blocking of the latest version of President Trump’s travel ban.

WBEZ Updates

Illinois Bill Would Help Immigrant Victims Of Crime

Senate President John Cullerton wants to see the Illinois House pass legislation in coming weeks to help immigrants who are victims of crimes.

WBEZ Updates

Study: Latinos Lag In Education, Health Insurance

A new study on Latinos in Chicago highlights disparities.

WBEZ Updates

Chicago 'Dreamers' React To White House Immigration ‘Wishlist’

Immigrant Chicagoans are reacting to hard-line proposals that the White House has put forth.

Morning Shift

Ahead Of Looming DACA Deadline, Chicago Orgs Offer Free Help

WBEZ reporter Odette Yousef breaks down what Chicago organizations are doing ahead of the Thursday DACA deadline.


‘It’s A Harder Life To Live Undocumented’

Roughly 8,000 immigrants in Illinois may be eligible to renew their DACA status before Thursday’s deadline. It’s unclear how many will.

WBEZ Updates

After Threats, Arlington Heights Library Reconsiders Immigrant Program

Arlington Heights library officials are still considering how to move forward after threats prompted them to cancel a program this week.

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