Isabela Dias

Isabela Dias is the fall 2019 editorial fellow at the Texas Observer. She was previously a reporting fellow with Pacific Standard magazine, reporting on immigration and human rights. Her work has appeared in the Washington Post, the Nation, Slate, and the Columbia Journalism Review, among other publications. She's a graduate of Columbia University.

By Isabela Dias:

Hilda Ramirez

The Fear—and Hope—of Living in Sanctuary

After fleeing domestic violence in Guatemala, I’ve been living inside a Texas church for the past four years. I’m exhausted, but I won’t stop fighting.

Hilda Ramirez is an asylum-seeker from Guatemala who came to the United States in 2014 after fleeing domestic violence. Ramirez and her son, Ivan, now 13, were detained for 11 months in ICE’s Karnes County Residential Center in South Texas. … Read More


If DACA Ends, It Would Be a ‘Catastrophe’ For Dreamers

As many as 700,000 people could be directly impacted by the end of the Obama-era program.

On June 15, 2012, Juan Carlos Cerda was installing a fan on the second-floor bedroom of a house in Preston Hollow, a wealthy neighborhood in north Dallas, when President Barack Obama appeared on television. Standing in the Rose Garden at … Read More

William Lopez

Author William Lopez on How Immigration Raids Inflict Long-Lasting Trauma

“There are 364 other days in the year when people’s lives are shaped by the possibility of deportation or a raid.”

On a cold Thursday morning in November 2013, Santiago (a pseudonym) was leaving his apartment on the top floor of an auto repair shop in Washtenaw County, Michigan, when Immigration and Customs Enforcement agents arrested him. Santiago would later be … Read More

In this Dec. 27, 2017, photo, Community Council health care navigator Fidel Castro Hernandez, left, hands a Spanish help line phone to legal U.S. resident Maria Ana Pina, right, as she signs up for the Affordable Care Act with her son Roberto Pina at the Community Council offices in Dallas. Since President Donald Trump took office a year ago, the number of Latino immigrants accessing public health services and enrolling in federally subsidized insurance plans has dipped substantially, according to health advocates across the country. (AP Photo/LM Otero)

Federal Judges Temporarily Block Public Charge Rule, but Public Health Worries Persist

In Texas, where 5.6 million people live in mixed-status families with at least one non-U.S. citizen, the chilling effect from the proposed rule is likely to exacerbate alarming trends.

Last month, Elizabeth Hasse, an immigration attorney with the Tahirih Justice Center in Houston, spoke to a client about renewing her work permit. Hasse had helped the woman secure temporary status years before under a provision in the Violence Against … Read More