Leslie Berestein Rojas

Immigration and Emerging Communities Reporter

Contact Leslie Berestein Rojas

Southern California is home to many new immigrants -- about a third of L.A. County residents are foreign born. Immigrants are creating an evolving definition of "American." I will deepen the understanding of how immigrants are changing the region and how L.A. changes immigrants.

Stories by Leslie Berestein Rojas

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.

Can anything fix the immigration court backlog?

The backlog of pending cases in immigration court nationally and in Los Angeles has spiked by nearly 50 percent since the start of fiscal year 2017.

Street vending to be legal in most of LA, but not everywhere

Certain no-vending zones have been designated, and vendors who've long done business in these areas say they're disappointed.

Los Angeles finally adopts plan to legalize street vending

After years of debate, the Los Angeles City Council on Wednesday unanimously approved a plan to legalize street vending, allowing vendors to get permits to operate.

Los Angeles groups make plans to aid asylum seekers

In the Los Angeles area, groups serving Central American immigrants are working with legal advocates to plan how to help any asylum seekers.

Have Latino voters have turned a corner in voter turnout?

A new UCLA study suggests that turnout among Southern California's Latino voters jumped in the Nov. 6 midterm election over 2014.