19 The Robert Spiers Benjamin Award 2020

Best reporting in any medium on Latin America

AWARD DATE: 2020

AWARD NAME: The Robert Spiers Benjamin Award 2020

AWARD RECIPIENTS: Kate Morrissey, Lauryn Schroeder, Nelvin Cepeda and Alejandro Tamayo

AWARD RECIPIENT AFFILIATION: The San Diego Union-Tribune

AWARD HONORED WORK: “Returned”

This whip-smart series offered a fresh, reader-friendly exploration – by a regional newspaper working its own backyard – into what really happens to those seeking the promise of asylum at America’s doorstep. The stories focused not on economic migrants but those fleeing political violence back home – from paramilitaries in Daniel Ortega’s Nicaragua – who were stranded in Tijuana. We knew the immigration and asylum courts were overwhelmed in 2020, but reporter Kate Morrissey and colleagues showed, with deep data dives and shoe-leather reporting in the courtrooms, how capricious and unjust the system can be.

Read the winning work here:

Part I
https://www.sandiegouniontribune.com/news/immigration/story/2020-02-24/protecting-the-worlds-most-vulnerable-what-it-takes-to-make-a-case-under-us-asylum-system

Part II
https://www.sandiegouniontribune.com/news/immigration/story/2020-08-23/who-gets-asylum-even-before-trump-system-was-riddled-with-bias-and-disparitieshttps://www.sandiegouniontribune.com/news/immigration/story/2020-08-23/asylum-system-interactive-experience
https://www.sandiegouniontribune.com/news/watchdog/story/2020-08-23/asylum-data-hindered-by-errors-missing-information

Part III
https://www.sandiegouniontribune.com/news/immigration/story/2020-10-11/us-asylum-system-gang-violence-honduras

Part IV
https://www.sandiegouniontribune.com/news/immigration/story/2020-12-27/how-could-asylum-system-be-reimagined
https://www.sandiegouniontribune.com/news/immigration/story/2020-12-27/climate-change-is-devastating-central-american-coffee-farms-and-spurring-migration
https://www.sandiegouniontribune.com/news/immigration/story/2020-12-27/life-after-asylum-carmen-kcomt
https://www.sandiegouniontribune.com/news/immigration/story/2020-12-27/life-after-refuge-dreams-of-joining-us-military

Citation for Excellence:
Max Baring, Anastasia Moloney and Dan Collyns
Thomson Reuters Foundation
“The Adventures of Wonder Woman – Inside Peru’s War against Illegal Gold Mining”