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

'Army unit' scheme a reminder of the military's pull for non-citizens

In case any sort of reminder was needed of how desperate many immigrants are for U.S. citizenship, one came yesterday in the sentencing of Yupeng "David" Deng, a Chinese immigrant from El Monte accused of charging fellow immigrants upwards of $400 to join a bogus “special forces” military unit that he told them would provide a path to citizenship.

And now, the frozen Korean 'street' taco

By the time an item titled "Korean BBQ Steak Tacos" appeared on the menu at California Pizza Kitchen last year, the defining edible metaphor for 2010s-era Los Angeles had taken a considerable journey.

'America...it takes all kinds:' Author Simon Winchester on becoming a U.S. citizen

The immigrant experiences shared in these digital pages are most often those of people whose families came to this country seeking better economic opportunities, freedom from hunger, freedom from oppression, an escape from war, or all of the above.

In the news this morning: Immigrant rights groups sue Sheriff Baca, Obama on E-Verify, Dream Act demonstrations, more

Immigrants rights groups sue LA County sheriff Baca - 89.3 KPCC Immigrant advocacy groups are suing Los Angeles County Sheriff Lee Baca to force him to hand over information about the department's cooperation with federal immigration authorities, who operate Secure Communities and other programs in county jails aimed at identifying undocumented immigrants.

Q&A: OC Weekly's Gustavo Arellano on Mexican food, yellow cheese and 'Bro-Mex'

The OC Weekly’s Gustavo Arellano knows a thing or two about Mexican food, and not just the traditional stuff that is actually found in Mexico. In his by now legendary “¡Ask a Mexican!” column, Arellano routinely fielded inquiries like “I always wondered why Mexican restaurants en los Estados Unidos use queso amarillo (yellow cheese) on their food.

Quote of the moment: The student 'most likely to save the world' on status and studies

College students and graduates campaigning for passage of the Development, Relief and Education for Alien Minors (DREAM) Act, heard yesterday in a Senate subcommittee, staged a mock graduation ceremony this morning in Washington, D.

In the news this morning: Dream Act hearing, immigration and demographics, opting out of Secure Communities, more

Senate holds first hearing on DREAM Act - UPI Report on yesterday's first hearing on a new version of the federal immigration bill, in which key White House officials focused on economic and national security issues.

Readers on interracial dating and parents' rules

A post yesterday highlighted author Diane Farr's new memoir about interracial romance titled “Kissing Outside the Lines: A True Story of Love and Race and Happily Ever After,” and her accompanying recent essay for the New York Times about the early days of her relationship with her Korean American husband.

With Dream Act a tough sell, ICE prosecutorial discretion memo will be put to test

A recently reintroduced Development, Relief and Education for Alien Minors (DREAM) Act received its first Senate hearing this morning, in a chamber packed with young undocumented immigrants who stand to benefit from a bill that proposes granting conditional legal status to young people who arrived in the U.

The Dream Act and the economy

Senate Democrats speaking in support of a newly introduced version of the Development, Relief and Education for Alien Minors (DREAM) Act this morning have been bringing up economic reasons for passing the proposed legislation, which would grant conditional legal status to young people brought here before age 16 if they go to college or enlist in the military.

In the news this morning: The Dream Act and the economy, state immigration laws, Latinas and health, lawsuit over wearing hijab at work, mor

Democrats pitch DREAM Act as needed economic patch - USA Today As Democrats renew their push for the Dream Act act in a Senate hearing this morning, the sales pitch will also focus on how the undocumented youths eligible for legalization under the bill can help the nation's foundering economy.

2011 version of the Dream Act to get its first Senate hearing

A new and slightly revised version of the federal Dream Act will get its first Senate hearing tomorrow morning, more than a month after Illinois Democratic Sen. Dick Durbin and other top Senate Democrats announced plans to bring it back.

A girlfriend from the 'wrong' race: New memoir takes on interracial romance

Over the past few months we've presented a few different takes on interracial relationships, social territory that even in an increasingly multiethnic country remains full of unexpected land mines.

Chicharito meets 'Chico and the Man,' and other musical tributes

The star of the Mexican national team, Javier Hernández aka "Chicharito," wasn't the one to score the winning goal Saturday the Rose Bowl, in which Mexico beat the U.S. team 4-2 in the CONACAF Gold Cup final.

In the news this morning: The Gold Cup final, 'coming out' undocumented, Latino ballplayers, state immigration laws, more

In Gold Cup final, it's red, white and boo again - Los Angeles Times A fan of Mexico's wildly supported national team, which beat the U.S. 4-2 at the Rose Bowl on Saturday, explains why the booing opposition: "We're not booing the country, we're booing the team," he said.