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

Undocumented vs. illegal, revisited

The debate over whether media outlets should use "undocumented" or "illegal" to refer to immigrants living in the United States without permission has been the subject of many heated conversations in newsrooms, and the subject of several posts on this site.

In the news this morning: Outrage over anti-Muslim coloring book, CA Dream Act approved in Senate, Obama's uncle, more

9/11 Coloring Book Sparks Outrage From Muslim Group - TIME A children's coloring book called "We Shall Never Forget 9/11: The Kids' Book of Freedom" uses terms like "freedom-hating radical Islamic Muslim extremists.

California Dream Act clears the Senate - what's next?

The second of two bills making up the California Dream Act is one step closer to being signed into law by Gov. Jerry Brown. The bill known as AB 131, which would give undocumented college students access to state-funded financial aid, cleared the state Senate 22-11 today, UC Berkeley's Daily Californian reports.

The Obamas as just another mixed-status family

The recent arrest of President Obama's half-uncle, who is being held by immigration officials for lack of legal status, casts light on a facet of the immigration story that is little-discussed but extremely commonplace: the prevalence of mixed-status families.

In the news this morning: GOP candidates court Latinos, Obama's uncle called immigration 'fugitive,' global migration, foreign students, mor

As Perry ascends, Romney chases Latino vote - Los Angeles Times Latinos have not previously been a big factor in Republican nomination races, but they could be next winter. Mitt Romney plans to address the Republican National Hispanic Assembly convention later this week in in Florida.

Reflecting on freedom and faith: Eid ul-Fitr at the LA Convention Center (Video)

KPCC videographer Mae Ryan filmed this morning's Los Angeles Convention Center observance of Eid ul-Fitr, the holiday marking the Islamic holy month of Ramadan. The month is observed with fasting from sunrise to dusk and is considered a time of spiritual reflection and renewal.

Deportees from Central and South America face riskier trip than ever to return

The trains that ferry migrants from Central and South America on a precarious journey north through Mexico have long been written about. But the already dangerous trip has become even more so lately, with migrants kidnapped and murdered by drug gangs along the way.

Why is Spanish-language media doing better than English-language media?

With the mainstream newspaper industry continuing its downward trajectory and an unsteady media climate in general, why is the outlook sunnier in Spanish-language newsrooms?

South LA's film students (Video)

The Urban Oasis Film Academy teaches the art of filmmaking to teens in South Los Angeles, allowing them to make films that have gone on to win awards and landed jobs for some in the film industry.

In the news this morning: A survey of American Muslims, Alabama immigration law blocked, Obama's uncle held by ICE, more

Survey: Muslim-Americans happier with conditions in US than broader public - Christian Science Monitor According to a new Pew Research Center report, "for the most part, Muslim-Americans disavow Islamic extremism, are happy with the way things are going in the country and in their lives, and are about as religious and educated as the general American public.

Scenes from the 'Blessing of the Grapes'

What is a Blessing of the Grapes? Guest blogger and comic Lory Tatoulian spent mid-August traveling around Southern California to various picnics associated with this traditional Armenian religious feast day/social event, and she brought her camera.

On 'Immigration Officers Vs. Obama'

The New Republic published an interview today with Chris Crane, president of the union that represents U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement agents. Crane and other union members in the agency responsible for carrying out the Obama administration's immigration policies have been vocally critical of the administration lately.

More reaction to California Dream Act from KPCC listeners

Last Friday I joined guest host David Lazarus of the Los Angeles Times on KPCC's AirTalk to discuss the California Dream Act, a package of two bills that would make it easier for undocumented college students to pay tuition.

Want to cook your favorite ethnic cuisine? Have an immigrant teach you

Here's a novel idea: With foodie interest in ethnic cuisines at an all-time high, why not bring together said foodies who want to learn how to cook with the people who know how to make these dishes best?

In the news this morning: Deportation reviews, Secure Communities, Perry bills feds for incarcerated immigrants, more

Deportation reviews raise some immigrants' hopes - Los Angeles Times Immigrant advocates are urging caution as the Obama administration plans to review nearly 300,000 deportation cases and terminate those considered a low priority.