Meet the Fellow: Maya Averbuch

Maya Averbuch

For the past two years, Maya Averbuch has been working as a freelance journalist in Mexico City. She has written for The New York Times, The Washington Post, Wired, The New Republic, The Huffington Post and other news organizations covering politics and immigration, especially the migrant caravans that crossed Mexico.

Maya knew from a young age she wanted to be a journalist, because she was interested in storytelling. “I haven’t really looked into a different career since I was 16. I had a really great high school paper called The Spectator. I wrote for it and edited it and had this magnificent, bald English teacher who advised us on it. Ever since then, I was pretty committed.”

Later, when Maya was attending Yale University, she was taking a class on refugee law and was trying to figure out where to do journalism outside of the U.S. She was later awarded a year-long fellowship to work abroad and has continued that work in Mexico. One story that stands out in Maya’s portfolio from this time is a story about a woman who spent time looking for her sister who disappeared while migrating through Mexico ten years before, and ultimately the woman’s journey of not finding her.

A daughter born to immigrant parents and raised in Queens, N.Y., where people come to settle from all over, she wanted to better understand current issues affecting immigrants. That led her to other kinds of stories as well, far from her family in India and Israel, and far from her home city.

With a small embroidered pouch in hand to carry her recording device, Maya Averbuch has new goals for this year. “I’d like to focus on stories that are left out of migration coverage. Get beyond breaking news. I’d like to report and publish about translation issues in detention centers, families’ debt after helping someone to the U.S., and the way government treats border crossers as criminals even years after they’ve arrived.”

Maya’s plans are to continue thinking about what is undercovered in the news. “Basically, I’m looking to learn a great deal more and listen better—and also figure out what’s not easily understood about these immigration processes that could be worth retelling. At the end of the day, I’m most grateful to the many people who have given me a hand.”

Elaine Cromie, 2019 U.S.-Mexico Border Fellow