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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

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.

WBEZ Updates

Local Immigration Attorneys Say Latest Version Of Travel Ban Leaving Questions Unanswered

The latest version of President Trump’s travel ban is creating confusion and anxiety for Chicagoans who have ties to the listed countries.

WBEZ Updates

Groups Worry Too Few DACA Immigrants In Chicago Are Renewing Permits

Groups that work with immigrants in Chicago are worried that few young undocumented people are renewing their applications for temporary relief from deportation.

WBEZ Updates

Immigration Activists Push For “Clean” DREAM Act

Immigration activists in Illinois are ramping up a campaign to pressure Illinois’ 20 U.S. congressmen and senators on immigration legislation.

Morning Shift

Homeless And Then Displaced: Latest On The Uptown Tent City

'Morning Shif't talks with WBEZ reporter Odette Yousef about the latest on what’s been known as Tent City in Uptown.

WBEZ Updates

Uptown Tent Communities Disband Under Pressure

The homeless community that formed in Uptown has dispersed.


Palestinian Activist To Be Deported To Jordan From Chicago

A Chicago Palestinian activist with a decades-old record of bombings in Jerusalem will be deported to Jordan on Tuesday, her spokesman said.

Every Other Hour

Power, Protection And Identity: Why Girls Join Gangs

Research finds young women often play central roles in gangs. One teenager reveals how the possibility of power drew her in.

WBEZ Updates

DACA Speculation Puts Young Immigrants On Edge

Chicago area immigrants who received temporary legal status in the U.S. under an Obama policy are anxiously awaiting the program's fate.


Undocumented Mother Seeks Sanctuary In Chicago Church

Francisca Lino isn't the first undocumented immigrant to stay at the church, which provided haven to an immigration activist in 2006.

WBEZ Updates

Judge Orders ICE Agents’ Names Be Revealed

A judge rejected a request by some federal immigration agents to remain anonymous in a case involving a Chicago man arrested in March.

WBEZ Updates

Homeless Group Threatens Lawsuit Over Viaduct Plan

People living in tents on Chicago’s North Side say they’re getting ready to sue the city.

WBEZ Updates

ACLU Praises Chicago Sanctuary Lawsuit — With Caveats

The prominent civil liberties group argues that Chicago still has a long way to go to live up to its ideals of protecting residents’ constitutional rights.

WBEZ Updates

Immigration Shift Could Leave Midwest Behind

Experts worry that Chicago and the region could lose out if President Donald Trump gets the changes he wants to the U.S. immigration system.

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