Leonardo Castaneda


Border and Immigrants' Rights Activist



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Leonardo Castañeda Mercado is a border and immigration policy advocate at the ACLU of New Mexico. Prior to that, he worked in the affiliate’s Communications Department as an investigative reporter with a focus on immigration and border rights.

Before joining the ACLU of New Mexico, Leonardo worked as a reporter at The Mercury News and East Bay Times in the San Francisco Bay Area, where he covered the disparate impact of COVID-19 on communities of color, economic inequality, and the way large landowners had shaped the development of Silicon Valley. He previously worked at Inewsource, a nonprofit investigative news organization in San Diego, Calif. There, he reported on government accountability and campaign finance and was the lead data reporter on a collaborative project mapping the construction of the U.S.-Mexico border wall.

Originally from Mexico City, he grew up in San Diego and graduated from San Diego State University with degrees in journalism and economics.