Leslie Berestein Rojas

Immigration and Emerging Communities Reporter

Contact Leslie Berestein Rojas

Leslie Berestein Rojas is KPCC's Immigration and Emerging Communities Reporter.

An award-winning journalist with several years’ experience reporting on immigration issues, Berestein Rojas most recently covered immigration on the U.S.-Mexico border for the San Diego Union-Tribune. She has retraced the steps of migrants along desert smuggling trails, investigated immigrant detention contractors, and told the stories of families left behind in Mexico’s migrant-sending towns.

A native of Cuba raised in Los Angeles, Leslie has also written for Time, People, the Orange County Register and the Los Angeles Times. She has reported from Mexico, Central America and the Caribbean.

Stories by Leslie Berestein Rojas

California Dream Act 101: What it does, who qualifies, and what happens next

On Saturday, California Gov. Jerry Brown signed a landmark piece of state legislation that will allow undocumented college students to obtain publicly-funded financial aid, now only available to students who are U.

A formal Senate apology for the 1882 Chinese Exclusion Act

The Beijing-based blog lawandborder.com has rounded up three news reports on a story that resonates deeply in California, but which was buried somewhat this weekend amid other news as the governor signed and vetoed bills.

In the news this morning: California Dream Act signed into law, SB 185 vetoed, Alabama immigrants make worst-case plans for kids, more

Jerry Brown signs California Dream Act - Los Angeles Times On Saturday, California Gov. Jerry Brown signed into law a bill that will allow undocumented college students to apply for state-funded financial aid, which they previously had no access to.

Brown: Yes to California Dream Act, no to race and gender in college admissions

While most of the attention was on the California Dream Act yesterday as today's bill-signing deadline loomed, a lesser-known but equally controversial California bill involving students of color met with a thumbs-down from Gov.

Tweeting the California Dream Act

The hashtag #dreamact has been trending on Twitter since Gov. Jerry Brown signed into law this morning a bill known as AB 131, which allows undocumented college students who meet state residency requirements to obtain state-funded financial aid for tuition.

Gov. Jerry Brown signs AB 131, second part of California Dream Act

It came down almost to the wire, but California Gov. Jerry Brown has signed legislation that will allow undocumented college students in the state to obtain the same kind of publicly-funded financial aid for tuition now available to U.

'Everyone in L.A. is an immigrant': The Los Angeles of noir novelist Denise Hamilton

A post last week featured an excerpt from the latest novel by Denise Hamilton, a Los Angeles mystery writer who since her acclaimed first novel a decade ago has used the city's immigrant enclaves as the backdrop for her twisting noir plots.

Report: Two years after overhaul plans were announced, most immigrant detainees still in 'jail-like' facilities

A report from the international human rights advocacy group Human Rights First examines the conditions in U.S. immigrant detention centers, two years after Homeland Security officials announced there would be a major overhaul of the detention system.

Will the California Dream Act become law? Readers' reactions

A post earlier this week addressing whether or not California Gov. Jerry Brown will sign a bill making up part of what's known as the California Dream Act has generated a very long string of comments, an example of how divisive the debate over the bill has become.

In the news this morning: Alabama ag director looks to inmates, airline sued over hijab discrimination, 'John and Ken' boycott, more

Ala.: Inmates can replace Hispanic farmhands - Politico The head of Alabama's agriculture department is looking to inmate labor as "a short-term solution to the sudden labor shortage that has hit Alabama since enforcement of its illegal immigration law kicked in.

Roasted corn, the Mediterranean shore - what takes you back?

A conversation thread that began with a post last weekend, about a young Salvadoran immigrant reminiscing of the chickens and chicken soup back home, continues to draw out memories from readers.

Tweet of the moment: 'The wrong Syrian died yesterday'

Okay, so it's one of many, many tweets of the moment mourning the death of Apple founder Steve Jobs, who died yesterday of complications from pancreatic cancer. In recent months it was reported that Jobs, who was adopted, was the biological son of a Syrian immigrant.

Report: First and second generation to be a third of U.S. population by 2040

A report released today by the University of Southern California that projects the growth of immigrant generations in the United States has the second-generation children of immigrants poised to make up a larger share of the overall U.

A reporter's take on another common immigration misperception

I've been enjoying the way in which New York Times reporter Damien Cave has been addressing readers' questions in response to a recent story on illegal immigration and deportees returning to the U.

In the news this morning: Alabama's 'humanitarian crisis,' Arabs embrace Steve Jobs, maritime smuggling deaths, more

Is Alabama immigration law creating a 'humanitarian crisis'? - Christian Science Monitor With what's considered to be the nation's strictest state immigration law now in effect, it's estimated that some 2,000 Latino students didn't attend school Monday.