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

Nipsey Hussle's murder rattles LA's tight-knit Eritrean community

The murder last month of L.A. rapper, entrepreneur and community activist Nipsey Hussle focused attention on a small but tight-knit community of East African immigrants: Eritreans, who have lived in Southern California for decades.

How white supremacists are recruiting educated 'normies' around LA

"You're talking about people who have legitimate jobs, or college students, college graduates. And then, they try to use that base to legitimize their movement."

Adelanto pulling out of detention contracts, but ICE facility there may grow

The high desert city of Adelanto has decided to cancel its contracts with U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement and the Geo Group, the company that operates a large immigrant detention center there.

Hate groups try for mainstream appeal as they recruit in SoCal

White supremacist propaganda has been showing up at an alarming rate throughout Southern California and around the country. It's been found on local college campuses, high schools, and in local communities. Experts say one reason is because some hate groups are eager to recruit new members.

With Census 2020 a year away, officials worry about an undercount

Los Angeles county and city officials talked up the 2020 Census at a downtown L.A. rally on Monday, a year ahead of when the decennial count is set to take place. They’re trying to spread the word that an accurate count is critical because census data helps determine how many federal dollars go toward things like public health services and public schools.

Orange County plans to stop housing ICE detainees

Orange County has announced that it will stop housing detainees from U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement to free up more space for inmates requiring mental health services.

Police investigating anti-Semitic posters at San Fernando Valley schools

Police are investigating anti-Semitic posters left around several schools in the west San Fernando Valley this week.

How one refugee family made it to LA after years stuck in Vienna

A year ago, 87 Iranian refugees bound for the United States who’d been waiting in Austria since 2016 were stranded there indefinitely, after the U.S. denied their applications. They had been waiting to come to the U.S. through a program for religious minorities since before the January 2017 travel ban. Last month, following a court order, about a dozen of them were admitted into the country.

'Are we white?': SoCal's Arab-Americans debate which box to check on the census

Plans had been moving forward to include a category in the 2020 census referred to as MENA, for "Middle Eastern or North African." But the Trump administration nixed that idea last year.

White or 'other?' With no census category for 2020, Arab-Americans debate which box to check

Until about a year ago, plans were moving forward to include a category in the 2020 census referred to as MENA, for "Middle Eastern or North African." It would have allowed a more accurate count of Americans of Arabic, Persian and other Middle Eastern or North African descent, who are now counted only as "white.

Shutdown worsened situation in backlogged immigration courts

While the Trump administration wants to speed up deportations, the government shutdown had the opposite effect, forcing the cancellation of thousands of hearings.

Immigration hearings resume after government shutdown

Immigration courts reopened Monday after a five-week government shutdown, during which thousands of hearings were postponed.

Life becomes more uncertain for migrant families camped in Tijuana

In the migrant camps are many children trying to make sense of what’s happening.

Fears stir in Vietnamese community that US seeks more refugee deportations

Advocates for the Vietnamese American community say they fear the Trump administration may be negotiating with Vietnam to take back thousands of refugees who came to the U.S. decades ago.

Fears stir in Vietnamese community over refugee deportations

Community advocates say the Trump administration may be negotiating with Vietnam to take back thousands of refugees who came to the U.S. decades ago.