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

In L.A., that Eastside way of 'talk-een'

There's a special sing-songy way of speaking that those of us who grew up east of the river in Los Angeles are easily identified by, but I hadn't seen much written about it until today.

Life in a mixed-status family: 'The media speak about their parents as if they were sub-human'

A series of posts that began last week has related the personal stories of people in families of mixed immigration status, families composed of a blend of U.S. citizens and/or legal residents and undocumented immigrants, sometimes living under one roof.

In the news this morning: Long waits for legal immigration, fallout from Alabama law, controversy over E-Verify bill, more

Immigrants find legal paths to U.S. long, difficult – USA Today Obtaining permanent legal resident status can take many years, even for professionals. It took one man profiled, a Peruvian-born television producer who speaks four languages, more than a decade.

'To my bomb man!': Anti-Islamic school bullying and the shapes it takes

There's an interesting piece on the rise of anti-Muslim bullying in The Huffington Post written by Engy Abdelkader, a human rights attorney. Abdelkader cites a recent report's findings that "a primary factor underlying the persistent harassment, ridicule and discrimination against American Muslim children is the American mainstream's general perception of Islam and Muslims.

American snapshot: Downtown L.A.

A giant Catrina stares out from a gallery storefront on Fourth Street. The female skeletal figure, made popular nearly a century ago by Mexican artist José Guadalupe Posada, is synonymous with Mexico's Día de los Muertos holiday.

Life in a mixed-status family: Readers' stories

In a series of posts last week, people living in families of mixed immigration status shared their personal experiences. One young woman wrote about being the child of undocumented parents and a family life fraught with "frustration, uncertainty, secrecy, lies.

Scenes from a mini-'Occupy': Latino protesters in South Gate

Criticism of the "Occupy" protests that began last month in New York - which by now have spawned a widespread series of mini-Occupies - as being too white has never completely applied in Los Angeles, where Latinos and other minorities have played at least a small part since the start.

In the news this morning: Obama seeking Latino support, AZ case against feds dismissed, Muslim workers fired over prayer break dispute, more

Obama comes to Southern California seeking Latino support - Southern California Public Radio President Obama is back in Los Angeles today, raising money for his re-election campaign and trying to garner the support of Latino voters.

'There is nothing 'wrong' with Halloween': New Yorker spoofs cross-cultural fear and loathing in the classroom

This week's edition of The New Yorker features a send-up of cross-cultural, cross-class holiday fear that is so hilariously dead-on, it made me laugh and wince at once.

Life in a mixed-status family: 'It's as if she doesn't exist'

This week we've been featuring the first-person stories people who live in families of mixed immigration status, families in which some members are U.S. citizens or legal residents and others remain undocumented, often unable to adjust their status.

Life imitating art? 'A Day Without a Mexican' plays out in Alabama

Watching this Associated Press video on the Washington Post website of desperate farmers in Alabama, trying to get their crops picked after a strict new anti-illegal immigration law has driven many Latino immigrants out of the state, reminded me of something I'd seen before.

In the news this morning: Alabama immigrant workers hard to replace, detainee lawsuit alleges sexual abuse, 'birthers' and Marco Rubio, more

Few Americans take immigrants' jobs in Alabama - The Washington Post A plan to hire unemployed Americans to replace the immigrant farm workers who have left the state after a strict new law took effect isn't working out; many of the American workers quit after a single day on the job.

Life in a mixed-status family: 'It is hard to explain'

A post yesterday kicked off a series of posts related to families of mixed immigration status, with readers sharing their own stories. Mixed-status families are a common but seldom discussed phenomenon in the United States, composed of some members who were born here or have legal status, and others who don't.

L.A. relief efforts for Central American flood disaster underway

Hundreds of thousands of people have been displaced by the disastrously heavy rains that have soaked Central America in the past week, causing flooding, landslides and close to a hundred reported deaths at last count.

Latino presence in 'Occupy' protests may be relatively small (they're working), but it's there

The Occupy Wall Street protests in New York and its offshoots around the country have been criticized as being too white, with a dearth of minority protesters even though it's minorities who have been worst affected by the economic crisis.