Dorian Merina

Dorian Merina

Dorian joined KPCC in 2013. He covered immigration, crime, climate change, education and arts & culture before taking over the military and veterans beat.

Dorian has reported on how L.A.’s new Crenshaw train line is changing historic Leimert Park and how Mexico's crisis of missing persons affects Southern California families searching for lost loved ones. He's mined public records to show how L.A.’s immigration courts continue to deport child migrants at high rates despite the Obama administration's change in policy. He's contributed to Take Two's special on the 50th Anniversary of the Watts Riots and the week-long series "After Saigon." Dorian has also contributed to KPCC's "Officer Involved" investigation on police shootings. He's contributed coverage to both the men and women's World Cup games in 2014 and 2015 as well as covered L.A.'s hosting of the Copa América.

Before coming to KPCC, Dorian reported from Southeast Asia and spent a year documenting indigenous oral poetry in the Philippines on a Fulbright grant. His own poetry earned a Poetry Foundation Award in 2008 for the film, "Migrations."

He speaks both Spanish and Tagalog and just enough Bahasa Indonesia to find his way through the food stalls in Jakarta.

Ways to Connect

Army veteran Hector Barajas stands outside the Deported Veterans House in Tijuana. The House has a database of 350 deported veterans, but Barajas estimates the numbers could be much higher.
Dorian Merina / American Homefront

Hundreds of veterans - who served in the U.S. military as non-citizens - were later deported for committing civilian crimes. 

Mario Martinez, 54, an Army veteran, is facing deportation after serving four years in California state prison. While serving in the Army in the 1980s, he was deployed to Germany as part of U.S. forces sent to guard the Berlin Wall.
Dorian Merina / American Homefront

Non-citizens are eligible to serve in the U.S. military. But even as veterans, they can still be deported if they commit crimes after they leave the service.

Air Force veteran B.J. Lange (left) leads the first improv class for veterans at Hollywood's Second City.
Dorian Merina/American Homefront

Improv comedy classes at Second City in Hollywood help veterans learn to perform, laugh, and build confidence.

Veterans seek employment at an Army Corps of Engineers career fair in Sacramento, Cal. in April 2016.
Randy Gon / U.S. Army

Racial and ethnic minorities make up an increasing share of the military, yet face added obstacles when seeking to access veterans benefits, according to a report from the Department of Veterans Affairs.

Corrita Concon shops at the commissary at the Los Angeles Air Force Base about three times a week. She estimates she saves about 30 percent compared with local supermarkets.
Dorian Merina / American Homefront

The stores offer low prices for service members and retirees. But taxpayers pay more than a billion dollars a year to subsidize them.

Sham Hasan, an Iraqi, worked with American forces as an interpreter starting in 2010. He was part of efforts to rebuild and train the Iraqi Army and, after the U.S. withdrawal of forces, continued to work for an American contractor in Baghdad.
Dorian Merina / American Homefront

The interpreters, who were caught up in the Trump Administration's travel ban, aided U.S. troops during the Iraq war.