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

¡Acere! LeBron James 'assimilates' in Miami


In the news this morning: An immigrant businessman's plight, Latinos and the census, an immigration crackdown on businesses, more

Crackdown in Virginia Strips Legal Immigrant of His Livelihood - New York Times A Tunisian immigrant's limo business is on the rocks after an immigration crackdown costs him his driver's license, though he's in the country legally.

'Unrest in Iran' segment on KPCC draws reaction

As protests continue in the Middle East, including in Iran, members of Los Angeles' large Iranian American community have been closely watching the unrest from afar, with local supporters of the pro-democracy demonstrators rallying in solidarity last weekend.

A fond farewell to a vestige of Latino Silver Lake

I was driving through Silver Lake the other day when I saw something I'd expected to see eventually, but hoped I wouldn't: an empty storefront at the corner of Sunset Boulevard and Hyperion Avenue where a tiny Salvadoran pupuseria had stood for years, tucked between an upscale gelateria and a dentist office.

In the news this morning: Iranian American reactions, the Lakers and Latinos, Oklahoma immigration bills echo Arizona's, more

Unrest in Iran: SoCal Iranian-Americans weigh in on protests - 89.3 KPCC Siamak Kalhor, the host of Radio Iran in Los Angeles, joined KPCC's Madeleine Brand show this morning.

A Presidential Medal of Freedom for Sylvia Mendez, the girl who made civil rights history


No hearing on birthright citizenship bill, but some good reads anyway

Plans for a hearing today on an Arizona senate bill whose proponents hope to deny birthright citizenship to children of undocumented immigrants were temporarily put off until next week, with legislators giving priority to a tax-cut bill.

In the news this morning: Arizona hospital bill, Tunisian migrants, birthright bill hearing postponed, a conviction in border murders, more

Arizona bill brings hospitals into immigration fray - Politico The state bill would require hospitals to check on whether a patient is in the country illegally. It's the first of its kind on the country, and has drawn heavy criticism from doctors.

Quote of the moment: A local supporter of Iran's Green Movement

“We believe this: there is a democracy quake in the Middle East. People are looking to destroy the old model of politics."

Meet L.A.'s curbside Valentine vendors

Just before Valentine’s Day each year, a small army of immigrant entrepreneurs stakes out street corners, freeway off-ramps, tables outside established businesses or just busy stretches of sidewalk, spreading out small loads of romance-themed gifts for sale.

American snapshot: Boyle Heights

The stickers on a truck driving along the 101 interchange through Boyle Heights get at the long-running debate over how to identify those of us with ancestry from Latin America: Latino, Hispanic, or simply as from wherever it is our roots are, like Mexicano?

In the news this morning: A different Arizona immigration bill, MALDEF president a possibility for CA high court, Persian classes at USC, mo

Hearing set on bill requiring hospitals to check patients' immigration status - Arizona Republic The state senate bill would require hospitals to confirm that someone is in the country legally before the person is admitted for non-emergency care, and that if not, that the hospital notify immigration officials.

Five Valentine meals to share with your amor

Forget momentarily about chocolate, oysters and the rest of the usual food suggestions that accompany Valentine’s Day, about aphrodisiacs and expensive dinners. As a favor to lovestruck foodies in the Los Angeles area, a few colleagues and I recently came up with an unscientific but well-loved list of some of the best date-friendly offerings to come out of our immigrant enclaves.

'It kind of took me by surprise:' Egyptian American voices

Last night, in one of the crowded hookah lounges that dot an Anaheim neighborhood known as Little Arabia, I came across a table of Egyptian immigrants tensely watching Al Jazeera via satellite, a group of friends grumbling over a shared smoke and many cups of hibiscus tea.

American snapshot: Egyptian pride in Anaheim

Said, 28, told KPCC reporter Shirley Jahad this morning that his family was in Cairo's Tahrir Square, and that "the biggest flag of Egypt is in his heart."