Robert M. La Follette School of Public Affairs
Wednesday, October 4, 2017

MacArthur 'genius' recipient Stillman to speak on criminal justice, immigration

MacArthur 'genius' recipient Stillman to speak on criminal justice, immigration

Tuesday, October 24, 2017
Discovery Building, DeLuca Forum
330 N. Orchard Street, Madison
4:30 to 5:30 p.m., Reception to follow

Sarah Stillman, a staff writer at The New Yorker since 2013, will discuss her current work during the fall 2017 Public Affairs Writer in Residence presentation, Crimmigration: Criminal Justice and Immigration in the U.S.

Stillman, who also leads the Global Migration Project at Columbia University, provides new and compelling perspectives on social injustices, including her current work on the intersection of the criminal justice system, immigration, and deportation. She has captured the human face of U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) raids, family detention, and asylum-seekers’ expedited removals.

In recent years, the U.S.-Mexico border has seen a significant surge in unaccompanied minors and women with children fleeing violence in Guatemala, El Salvador, and Honduras – many seeking asylum due to gender-based persecution. At the same time, deportations in the United States target men deemed “bad hombres.” Stllman has written extensively about how both of these scenarios inevitably reshape entire family networks.

Stillman earned bachelor’s and master’s degrees in anthropology from Yale University, and in 2016 received a MacArthur Foundation “genius” award.

At the Global Migration Project, Stillman directs team investigations into immigration and refugee issues, including the rise of private immigration detention facilities. She has written on topics ranging from civil asset forfeiture to debtors prisons, and from Mexico’s drug cartels to Bangladesh’s garment-factory workers.

Stillman began her career covering the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, and exposing the labor trafficking of foreign workers to serve U.S. troops in both conflict zones. In 2012, she won a National Magazine Award for her reporting on abuses of these war-zone workers. Stillman also received the Michael Kelly Award, an Overseas Press Club Award for international human-rights reporting as well as a George Polk Award and the Molly National Journalism Prize for her reporting on the high-risk use of young people as confidential informants in the war on drugs.

Before joining The New Yorker as a staff writer, Stillman also wrote about the challenges facing soldiers at home for the Washington Post, The Nation,, Slate, and She co-taught a seminar at Yale on the Iraq War and ran a creative-writing workshop for four years at the Cheshire Correctional Institution, a maximum-security men’s prison in Connecticut.

The Public Affairs Writer in Residence Program is sponsored by the La Follette School and the University Communications Writer in Residence Program, and is supported by the University of Wisconsin Foundation.