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

On the jobs (most) Americans won't do

The book that has kept me company on a cross-country flight this morning is “Working in the Shadows: A Year of Doing the Jobs (Most) Americans Won’t Do,” by journalist Gabriel Thompson.

Travel day today

Photo by Raiden256/Flickr (Creative Commons)

In the news this morning: Crackdown on visa overstays, NCLR and the Arizona boycott, Rick Perry on immigration, more

Broader security checks to reduce visa overstays - The Associated Press The Obama administration is looking for immigrants in the U.S. who have overstayed the terms of their visas, using a database that "automatically checks multiple national security, immigration and law enforcement databases at the same time.

Why many mixed-status families stay that way

A recent post explored the extent of mixed-status families in the United States after the arrest and detention of President Obama's immigrant half-uncle, looking at the First Family as yet another family with immigrant roots in which one or more members is undocumented.

Is Mexican food good for you? You bet

Living in Southern California, where Mexican food is a staple, it's hard to imagine there being too many misconceptions about the cuisine that UNESCO last year dubbed an "intangible cultural heritage of humanity.

'Isn’t this the land of the free?' Growing up in an era of Muslim stereotypes

Last week, Yasmin Nouh joined four other young people on the Patt Morrison Show to talk about growing up Muslim in the decade following the terrorist attacks of September 11, 2001. Here she expands on that interview, sharing her perspective in a first-person essay.

In the news this morning: The post-9/11 border buildup, new visa lottery lawsuit, NCLR calls off its Arizona boycott, more

For U.S.-Mexico border town, September 11 brought high wall - Reuters The post-9/11 buildup of border infrastructure by the U.S. as seen through the small ranching town of Naco, population 6,000, on the Mexican side of the border in the state of Sonora.

Five young Muslims who came of age post-9/11 share their experiences

A post this morning involved one young Lebanese American woman's experience growing up in Los Angeles following the September 11, 2001 terrorist attacks. In a first-person essay, she described the bullying that she and her sister were subjected to, a relatively common occurrence in the confusing months that followed.

6 ways in which 9/11 changed the immigration landscape

Last May, after the announcement that Osama bin Laden had been killed by U.S. forces in Pakistan, I published a short list of some of the most important ways in which the September 11, 2001 terrorist attacks that he masterminded radically altered the immigration landscape.

'They wrote ‘Osama Bin Laden’ on my picture:' An Arab American girl's memories of the 9/11 aftermath

It didn't take long from the time the planes hit the World Trade Center on September 11, 2001 for something ugly to begin occurring in American classrooms. Arab American students, until then perceived as no different from anyone else, were suddenly very different.

In the news this morning: Deportations without due process, Latino Muslims on identity, Obama's uncle is released, more

Many deportees unwittingly waive rights, report says - Los Angeles Times According to a report from the National Immigration Law Center, more than 160,000 immigrants signed what are called stipulated removals, many without understanding the documents and with no legal representation.

'Good people, strong people:' Reagan and Bush debate illegal immigration

In the wake of last night's GOP presidential candidates' debate, The Atlantic posted a video today that seems shocking by present standards of immigration rhetoric.

Is coming to America after 9/11 still worthwhile? An open letter to a would-be immigrant relative

Not long after the attacks of September 11, 2001 author and New American Media editor Andrew Lam wrote a touching response to a question from a cousin in Vietnam who wrote asking, "Is coming to America still worth the journey?"

Latinos and banking: Why they shy away, and why they shouldn't

In a series of recent posts, we've looked at how immigrant families build wealth and pass it along, making the ascent from have-nots to haves via wise investments such as the purchase of homes, and building on family financial networks that draw in multiple generations.

Three ways in which 9/11 altered policing in the U.S.

Billions of dollars poured into counterterrorism efforts, ratcheted-up surveillance and information-gathering "fusion centers" are just a few of the ways in which the terrorist attacks of September 11, 2001 altered the way law enforcement works in the United States.